When I got to work today - before I even got out of my Jeep actually - the Captain asked if I would be willing to use my Jeep for a search. A guy was missing, and they had a general area based on a cell phone search. Most was rural, and a lot of trails and muddy roads that none of our vehicles could navigate without getting stuck in short order.
'07 Jeep Wrangler to the rescue. Well, sort of. I didn't find the guy - but spent about 3 hours crawling around off-road and driving down roads that were just soup. And they paid for the gas. I actually got paid to go wheelin'. Was all great fun until another team found the guy. Not a happy ending for the family.
Kinda put a damper on what woulda been a great day of off-road fun.
This is a post that I have been waiting to do for a long, long time. As some of you know, I volunteer with the Sheriffs Office. I was pretty active from late '99 to early '03. Then, call outs for search and rescue work died off (stupid cell phones take all the fun out of it) and I had to go and get a family. Between lack of work and too busy in my personal life, I just faded away from it.
Well, things changed in mid Nov. of last year. I got a call and they were asking me if I was still intersted. I said sure, honored that they called...... But this time, I had a condtion. Searches are still what gets me excited, but they are few and far in between. It was OHV Enforcment that had me bugged and I wanted to make sure that if I came back, I could help go after knuckle heads. They said sure and I made the commitment. The buggy I was building to wheel and play in, took a serious turn and is become more and more purpose built.
Land Use meetings are great. So are clean ups. But man, I wanted to do more.. At ground zero so to speak, and this would be my ticket to do it.
Like all things in the big biz world, it takes a long time to get things to go. The Sheriffs Office is very short on man power so extra work in the boonies, has been low priority. But, 3 weeks ago, a detail that I had been waiting for since Jan, started up after the overtime hours were approved and extra funds were allocated to support it. The detail? OHV Enforcement.
The main running feelings in the Office, on places like Table Mesa, Sycamore Creek and a few others is to keep them open. Some folks want them closed but the MCSO wants go after the knuckleheads that screwing it up for everyone.... Or as we nicely say, that bad 5%. I wont lie...it could be a loseing battle on some of these places, but alteast there is a agency that is going to try.
For the last 3 weeks, we have been going out and patroling all across the county. We have also been makeing an active part of part of our detail to educate people on the State Land Permit. At some point, the County will start issueing tickets if you dont have it. It may suck if you get busted.. but it is what we feel we have to do get rid of the knuckleheads that keep screwing it up.
From my personal expeirence, everyone has been very, very favorable to it all. I was even surprised to hear how many folks were happy to see Law Enforcement out in the desert looking for the "bad guys". A good feeling indeed. Most people seem to know, that if they dont do something, they will lose it all.
Summer is coming and might mean a break as things get pretty hot out there. Another month or so, and I know unless it is a night detail, I am ridin' shotgun with someone else. But, there are talks to keep it going through the fall and make a big push next winter. When I get info I can pass on, I will. Unfortunatly, somethings I cant talk about or post pictures of. Like me chewing a guy who I busted for littering.
I assure you.. If you have ever done a clean up, and picked up a peice of trash and thought to yourself.. "Just once, I want to catch the SOB that did this..." That one was for you. Hopefully, more to come.