Roy Exum: Profile ‘Em, Chief Fletcher!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I’m as excited as most people that Fred Fletcher will be sworn in as Chattanooga’s new police chief this Thursday. Believe it or not, he’s already made an impact. Since he was hired from Austin, Texas, the personable guy has competed in some bicycling and running events which is quite a change from the remarkable leaders who have served before, and I am eager to watch our community embrace him.

Before he takes this week’s oath of office, the veteran lawman may be well advised to learn a quick lesson from Chief David Oliver, who heads a small but efficient police department in Brimfield, Ohio. Located in the northeastern area of the state near Akron, Brimfield has far fewer shootings, assaults and drug problems than Chattanooga but – nonetheless - Chief Oliver has started demanding that his officers profile citizens, and he makes no apology for it.

“We make a good amount of traffic stops and arrests, yet we issue few citations. That all changes on Monday, June 9th, 2014. For the summer, we will become an agency with a mission to write tons of tickets. We are not doing this for the revenue,” he said in a public warning.

“As part of this mission, we will be profiling a certain group of people. If you belong to this group of people, I will not apologize for the inconvenience if you are stopped. It is not harassment, so don’t go there,” he added in a terse announcement that has gone viral on the Internet.

“I am ordering my officers to stop anyone (using expert profiling techniques taught to us by an ancient order of Shaolin monk police officers) who is a member of this group of people,” Oliver’s edict to all homeowners read. “When my officers observe anyone belonging to this specific group, we will immediately stop the person or persons (sometimes they travel in groups) and give them a ticket.”

As the liberals in the community began to twist, Chief Oliver then brought the thunder. “Effective June 9th, 2014, we begin ‘Operation Safe Summer.’ My officers are ordered to stop anyone appearing to be 15 years of age or under who is riding a bicycle and wearing a helmet while doing so,” Oliver wrote. “My officers will then issue the youthful offender a ticket for a free ice cream cone from Frank’s Drive-in.”

My goodness, is that a wonderful slice of Americana or what? The concept is hardly new. At Chief Oliver’s request the folks at Frank’s Drive-In handed out over 200 ice cream cones to kids last summer but this year the cops will be out in earnest. Imagine what vibes it would create if Soddy -Daisy’s police or Collegedale’s finest would ticket some unsuspecting and over-heated young peddlers this summer.

Helmets reduce head trauma by about 70 percent. And ice cream can develop a bond between kids and cops that will last for the rest of their lives. Chief Fletcher knows well the friendships that are built through recreational sports and wouldn’t it be cool, in a manner of speaking, if we could devise more ways to build some sorely needed bridges?

* * *

Whole Foods grocery stores in Memphis and Nashville are legally selling wine right now, rather than waiting until July 2016 per our puzzling legislature. According to the Nashville Business Journal, the slick way it is being done is with a recently discovered loophole in a Tennessee law that allows for “cork and carry” at restaurants and wine bars that are inside grocery stores.

The trick is real simple. The customer orders a bottle of wine, has it opened by a store employee and then tastes a prescribed-by-law two ounces, just as you would in a trendy restaurant. Then the cork is put back in the bottle, it is bagged and paid for at the wine bar – not the regular cash register – and out the door you go with a sweet taste in your mouth.

I’ll bet you could do it in Chattanooga and in all other grocery stores where food is being served.

Is that clever or are our politicians a little goofy?

* * *

Monte Harrison, a sensational football player who the University of Nebraska plucked out of Lee, Missouri, was believed to be so athletic he could have played wide receiver for the Cornhuskers this fall but a funny thing happened on his way to college.

Last weekend Monte, an outfielder in baseball, was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round and, after being picked 50th overall, was faced with a tough decision. The Brewers realized that and, after they offered the gifted kid a $1.8 million signing bonus, he has decided to sign a contract rather than attend Nebraska.

* * *

There will be a lot of familiar faces at the graduation ceremony when William Tennett High School sends its 2014 Senior Class into the world. Of the 485 students who will graduate at the school located in the Philadelphia suburbs, there will amazingly be 14 sets of twins.

For the record there are five sets of male twins, seven sets of male-female siblings and two sets of girl twins. Researchers say the chance of twins is up 78 percent since 1980, this due to fertility drugs and the like.

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