Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Rough Script of Life, if Ever There Was One

The lives of the 5,600 residents of Chadron, Neb., unfold item by item,
week after week, in the police log of the local newspaper.
photo by
Angel Franco/The New York Times

Published: September 2, 2007


Item from the blotter of the Chadron Police Department: Caller from the 900 block of Morehead Street reported that someone had taken three garden gnomes from her location sometime during the night. She described them as plastic, “with chubby cheeks and red hats.”

When you reach Chadron you’re glad for it, because this Nebraska town is a long way from anywhere. Drive north on Main Street, past the Police Department, and you hit prairie; drive south, past the state college, and you hit prairie. In between, 5,600 people embrace, avoid and endure one another in a compact place that began more than a century ago as a remote railroad town.

Here, as anywhere, the specifics of most encounters between residents evaporate with the moment, leaving only those precious, fleeting bits, snatched from the ether and pinned by some dispatcher sitting at a desk behind the Police Department’s service window. A call comes in, the dispatcher types and another brief paragraph is added to the continuing Chadron epic.

Caller from the 200 block of Morehead Street advised a man was in front of their shop yelling and yodeling. Subject was told to stop yodeling until Oktoberfest.

It is in this regard that Chadron is blessed. For here, life’s gradual unfolding is measured and honored by Police Beat, a longstanding feature in The Chadron Record, the weekly newspaper. It records those small, true moments lost in the shadows of the large — moments that may not rise to the Olympian heights of newsworthiness, yet still say something about who we are and how we create this thing called community.

Caller from the 400 block of Third Street advised that a subject has been calling her and her employees, singing Elvis songs to them.

Police Beat repeats, almost verbatim, some of the calls that the town’s police dispatchers receive and then dutifully log, often in a literary style that synthesizes the detached jargon of the police with the conversational language of the people.

Caller from the 200 block of Morehead Street advised that a known subject was raising Cain again.

Every day, except on those days when they don’t feel like it, the dispatchers fax copies of their calls log to the ink-perfumed office of The Record, just around the corner. There, a young reporter named Heather Crofutt selects the most interesting items, edits out the names and specific addresses and types them up for Police Beat. Although she is essentially transcribing the reports, she says, “People think I make it up.”

Officer on the 1000 block of West Highway 20 found a known male subject in the creek between Taco John’s and Bauerkemper’s. Subject was covered in water stating he was protecting his family. Officers gave subject ride home.

George Ledbetter, (pictured) the editor, says Police Beat rivals the obituaries in popularity, so much so that it has become an integral part of local culture. Not long ago, for example, the loud practice sessions of four Chadron State College musicians earned them a mention in the log. They instantly knew what to call their fledgling band: Police Beat.

Mr. Ledbetter struggles to name his favorite item; there are so many. But taken as a whole, he says, the feature is “such a reflection of human life.”

Over the years, Chadron police officials have had a tolerate-hate relationship with Police Beat. One top-ranking officer complains that the feature seems to minimize the difficulty of police work. She says that while there are plenty of calls about animal encounters (Caller on the 900 block of Parry Drive advised a squirrel has climbed down her chimney and is now in the fireplace looking at her through the glass door, chirping at her.), there are plenty of calls about far more serious matters: child abuse, domestic violence, you name it.

But Police Beat often reflects how heavily some of us rely on law enforcement for just about everything (Caller from the 800 block of Pine Street advised that she had just left someone’s home and she forgot her jacket, and requested an officer to get her coat), and demonstrates how deft the police can be at defusing potentially volatile matters:

Caller from the 100 block of North Morehead Street requested to speak to animal control because caller felt that someone was coming into his yard and cutting the hair on his dogs. Dispatch advised caller to set up video surveillance on his house. Caller said he planned on it.

What emerges, then, is a kind of weekly prose poem to the human condition, where annoyance about barking dogs is validated, where nighttime fears born of isolation are reflected, where concern about others is memorialized.

Caller stated that there is a 9-year-old boy out mowing the yard and feels that it is endangering the child in doing so when the mother is perfectly capable of doing it herself.

In short, Police Beat is a rough script to the tragicomedy that is everyday life. And if the details preserved in the ever-expanding Chadron epic do not always find us at our best, there are moments, recorded for posterity, when we seek redemption, we make amends. We try.

Two weeks after the theft of those three chubby-cheeked, red-hatted garden ornaments, a brief item in Police Beat reported a break in the case. Two girls refusing to identify themselves had “brought in some gnomes.”


marymurtz said...

I have not missed an edition of Police Beat since the Record went online. I left Chadron, my hometown, almost 20 years ago. Even when I was a kid, the Police Beat was what everyone looked forward to most in an often lackluster paper reporting on slow-moving news.

One year, they published a "best of" edition online that was simply hysterical. I love it! Thank you for posting this!!!

WtheFWJD said...

I'm also originally from Chadron. The few quoted Police Beat entries are a few of the run-of-the-mill calls; some of the more bizarre calls (and there's always a few every week) make me glad to live in a large city where anonymity rules and no one cares what's happening up the street. On second thought...

Diane said...

I'm also originally from Chadron but moved away thiry years ago.. I read the Police Beat every week online. It's something I look forward to. I need a good laugh once in a while, but some of the reports are serious matters. I care what happens in Chadron because my elderly parents still live there. They love that town.

Diane said...

I'm also originally from Chadron but moved away thiry years ago.. I read the Police Beat every week online. It's something I look forward to. I need a good laugh once in a while, but some of the reports are serious matters. I care what happens in Chadron because my elderly parents still live there. They love that town.

Diane said...

I'm also originally from Chadron but moved away thiry years ago.. I read the Police Beat every week online. It's something I look forward to. I need a good laugh once in a while, but some of the reports are serious matters. I care what happens in Chadron because my elderly parents still live there. They love that town.

Anonymous said...

Having gone to college there and having been a part of the police beat on different occasions it's now nice to keep up on what's happening sometimes. Now that I work as an officer ina much larger city it's nice to read about what has occured and how much I sometimes miss the smaller places.

Anonymous said...

I love this article. My son is a student presently at Chadron State College. My husband and I had no idea about the size or the exact location of the town when my son made the decision to attend the college. The only thing we knew about the college was it was a division two school somewhere in Nebraska. So as good parents should do we started researching information about Chadron the college and the town on line. We found out the it was located with in just a few minutes of South Dakota at the foot hills of the Black Hills. We were able to view the college on line and find out all of the important information about the college and the college life at Chadron. However we could find out only limited information about the town itself. One day when we were searching my husband found the local newspapers, The Chadron Record and begin reading it. I was sitting and helping my son with college enrollment forms when my husband said, "Ya"ll work on that later, I need to read you something" and he begin to read the police beat from The Chadron record. Of course we read, and read and read, we spent hours reading the back issues. Some of the reports where humorous and we had a good laugh. But reading the reports began to bring me some peace about sending our child thousands of miles away to college at Chadron. When we would read the reports I got a feel for the people of Chadron. The reports painted pictures of the lifes of the people of Chadron. The words I heard when my husband read the police beat illustrated the characteristics of a concerned people who cared enough about their community to take the time to report things that effected their town and its people. The simple fact that the report that was given to the officers were taken down and recorded demonstrated that these were a people that took the time to listen to one another. I am sure Mr. Barry that after having read the Police Beat's recorded in the Chadron Record, that you, like my family, knew that the images in your head of Chadron and its people were just not sufficent and that something deep inside of you longed, as we did, to see for ourselves the beautiful pine covered hills of Chadron and the areas charming people. So one week after my son graduated from high school our family begin our pilgrimage to Chadron where we would leave our only boy to fend for himself, get an education and become a man. We traveled North, enjoying the unique beauty of many of our countries beautiful states until we finally reached Omaha,NE, now only eight more hours to Chadron...well where I come from's live oaks and peanut. But in our eight hour drive between Omaha and Chadron it was coal trains and sand hills. And although it has its own unique beauty it is much different scenery for a boy from the northwest Florida Panhandle. But then we topped a hill and found familar vegetation, pine trees...I never knew how much I really enjoyed looking at trees until they weren't there. The next seven "peaceful" days in the Chadron area were spent getting school things taken care of, moving our son into his dorm, visiting many historical sites including the Bad Lands, Mount Rushmore, Hot Springs, The Agate Fossil Beds and Fort Robinson to name a few and experiencing first hand the culture and people in the Chadron area. We found genuine, helpful, interesting hard working people. The morning of our last day in Chadron, as our family stood in the parking lot of McDonalds hugging, crying, kissing and shoving our baby out of the nest, I knew deep inside that this town and it's people would give my son wings to soar like an eagle. And although not a day goes by that I don't miss him terribly, I know just by the stories he shares with us of his experiences in the Chadron that he is right where he is supposed to be learning and living with kind and conciderate people.

Anonymous said...

cheap wedding gowns,
discount bridal gowns,
China wedding dresses,
discount designer wedding dresses,
China wedding online store,
plus size wedding dresses,
cheap informal wedding dresses,
junior bridesmaid dresses,
cheap bridesmaid dresses,
maternity bridesmaid dresses,
discount flower girl gowns,
cheap prom dresses,
party dresses,
evening dresses,
mother of the bride dresses,
special occasion dresses,
cheap quinceanera dresses,
hot red wedding dresses

Anonymous said...

Replica Handbags
Fake Handbags
Knockoff Handbags

Replica Louis Vuitton Handbags
Replica Gucci Handbags
Replica Chanel Handbags
Prada Handbags
Replica Fendi Handbags
Replica Dolce Gabbana Handbags
Replica Chloe Handbags
Replica Jimmy Choo Handbags
Replica Thomas Wylde Handbags
Replica MiuMiu Handbags

Replica Balenciaga Handbags
Replica Coach Handbags
Replica Lancel Handbags
Replica Hermes Handbags
Replica Marc Jacobs Handbags
Replica Anya Hindmarch Handbags
Replica YSL Handbags
Replica Mulberry Handbags
Replica Givenchy Handbags
Replica Valentino Handbags
Replica Versace Handbags
Replica Cartier Handbags
Replica Marni Handbags
Replica Bottega Veneta Handbags
Replica Loewe Handbags
Replica Kooba Handbags

Replica Bally Handbags
Replica Burberry Handbags
Replica Christian Dior Handbags
Replica Juicy Couture Handbags
Replica Ferragamo Handbags
Replica Celine Handbags

Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa

Anonymous said...

Good day !.
might , perhaps curious to know how one can collect a huge starting capital .
There is no initial capital needed You may begin earning with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you haven`t ever dreamt of such a chance to become rich
The company represents an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

It is based in Panama with structures around the world.
Do you want to become really rich in short time?
That`s your choice That`s what you wish in the long run!

I`m happy and lucky, I began to get income with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to select a proper partner who uses your money in a right way - that`s AimTrust!.
I take now up to 2G every day, and my first investment was 500 dollars only!
It`s easy to join , just click this link
and lucky you`re! Let`s take our chance together to become rich

Anonymous said...

You may probably be very interested to know how one can make real money on investments.
There is no need to invest much at first.
You may begin earning with a sum that usually is spent
for daily food, that's 20-100 dollars.
I have been participating in one project for several years,
and I'll be glad to let you know my secrets at my blog.

Please visit blog and send me private message to get the info.

P.S. I make 1000-2000 per daily now. [url=]Online Investment Blog[/url]

Anonymous said...

jewelry scholls long island
seamans credit credit card for people with no credit
pci pcmcia card reader make good money online gail scott jewelry card trading games

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody!

Sure, you’ve heard about me, because my fame is running in front of me,
friends call me Peter.
Generally I’m a venturesome analyst. recently I take a great interest in online-casino and poker.
Not long time ago I started my own blog, where I describe my virtual adventures.
Probably, it will be interesting for you to utilize special software facilitating winnings .
Please visit my web page . I’ll be interested on your opinion..

Anonymous said...

Playing bingo needs more than luck or skills and techniques, contrary to what most believe. Bingo, just like any game of chance, comes with rules and regulations that players should observe. Being a player comes with responsibilities and etiquette.

Winning the Game

The moment you figured out you won, you must immediately yell BINGO, and it should be loud enough for the floor walker to hear. The pot money shall be given to the winner once their winning card is confirmed. Well, in winning or once you know you just won, the most important thing is that you shout the winning word BEFORE the time elapses. If the game proceeds and the next number is mentioned and you failed to shout "Bingo", your winning card is disqualified. Therefore, this is the rule you must know.

There may be cases when there are two winners, and in this case the pot money shall be divided equally among the winners. Supposing there are two winning cards, the two winners will share half the prize money.

Bingo Game Rules

Bingo rules are basically the same no matter in which Online Bingo hall you play. But still it's good if you know these rules by heart. If it is your first try, then ask for handouts and inquire from pros regarding the game rules. Nonetheless, the ideal thing to do if you have questions is to ask the floor walker and not the person seated beside you. You should clarify things and doubts before the game starts because asking too many questions as the game proceeds could well distract you. This guideline also applies to those who are newcomers at casinos, those who play roulette for the first time.

Bingo halls demand an age limit of 18 years old. If you are below this age, you are prohibited to play. Some bingo houses ban alcohol inside, so players aren't supposed to take liquor nor drink it inside the venue. Smoking may also be restricted inside the venue, as there are designated smoking sections.

Take note that some Bingo houses don't allow food but some do, so it basically depends on the venue. Policies vary among different venues. For instance, some bingo halls allow reservation of cards, while others don't allow it. Some allow people to leave the venue in the middle of the game, others forbid it. But there are general policies observed in all bingo houses, such as disqualification of tampered bingo cards. There is no way you can get away with a tampered card because the walkers are adept at identifying authentic cards from tampered ones. You could be banned from a bingo establishment if proven liable of tampering a card. Hence, you should play honestly.

Interestingly, some venues offer special bingo games for kids although some halls don't allow players to have companions while playing. Suppose you bring kids with you, don't let them run around the venue and bother other gamers. They should behave well whilst you play and the game proceeds. Play quietly and don't recite the numbers you desperately want to come off because you'll be much of a disturbance if you do. Decorous playing is expectant of all players, even those who play roulette at casinos. Also, having a valid identification is important because you don't know you might win and need to present credentials.

More Online Bingo Info at Bingo Snooper Visit Now

Anonymous said...

hi every person,

I identified after previous months and I'm very excited much to commence participating. I are basically lurking for the last month but figured I would be joining and sign up.

I am from Spain so please forgave my speaking english[url=].[/url][url=].[/url][url=].[/url]

Anonymous said...

guest-house latin quarter
[url=]hotel price compare
[/url]boondocks bed deals
bed and breakfast race
reasonably domicile trappings
[url=]cheap hotel chains
[/url]lavasa tourist house booking
base accomadation
concision lodging
[url=]flight and hotel prices
[/url]returns running hotels
jal come-on thriftiness stock
booking the motel
[url=]jamaica hotel prices
[/url]relais breakfast
hud enclosure practice
appropriate deals on hotels
[url=]hotel ca
[/url]base hostelry price
budget-priced guest-house sites
words hostels
[url=]cheap cardiff hotels
[/url]booking of hostelry
online mood booking
corporation pedigree consider

Anonymous said...

Hello TO all members,
I just wanted to introduce myself to all of you and say that I am extremely happy to be a new member here[url=].[/url] I have been enjoying the conversations here for some time and look forward to participating now[url=].[/url][url=].[/url]

Glad to be a part of the community[url=].[/url][url=].[/url]

Anonymous said...

boeing 747 control type
cheap hotels in south beach
orange county quarters
hotel prices per incessantly
dolphin new zealand pub
book cheap hotel
cheap parliament extensions
guest-house daniel
appropriation habitation
hotel prices uk
section 8 rentals
alteration in the lake section
concision class syndrome
hotel prices in australia
airlie strand hotel
hotel prices uk
portsea housing
motel hotels
ms access breakfast booking
new zealand pub deals january
cheap hotels and guest houses
hotel accommodation cheap
pension deals in la
kuwait airways online booking
vcu shelter

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Office
Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010
Office 2010 key
Office 2010 download
Office 2010 Professional
Microsoft outlook
Outlook 2010
Windows 7
Microsoft outlook 2010

Anonymous said...

legal restrictions internet gambling
10 dollar minimum purchase online casinos
free light no deposit no download gain money casino
gambling link
internet gambling illegal pennsylvania
barona valley ranch casino
Instant nodeposit online casinos
online gambling license
heirloom nickel opening machines
gambling tips las vegas
tilt bingo thecasinoguide onlinegambling
niagara casino lodging
Casinos online codes coupon no deposit new players
Online casino free money coupon
100 accord winsome art fair projects
real money gambling
New 2010 online casino no deposit codes
sprung casino banknotes no download rendering
online casino partycasino review
online casino game sign bonus
louisiana lotto
internet free online gambling
card casino debit online sterling
lottery results canada
gambling internet online
slot machines online gambling
Macintosh poker en ligne
online casino dr lovemore game
free casino online gold
playing blackjack file card artifice
casino flash game new online
machines gambling
new coolcat casino coupon codes

Anonymous said...

online casino free money coupon
www online gambling star com
freed casino downloads
the history gambling las vegas nevada
online casinos 900 pay
casinos indiana
on line casino free slot tournaments
online casino electronic check deposit
unmistakable betting abacus
online sports betting gambling
midway slots online casino
sahara casino plate
online casinos amex
online gambling directory
unconditional immigration visa raffle
gambling portal
free gambling site
tennessee lottery scholarships
July 2010 bonus codes online casinos
Free online casinos no download no flash
bicycle casino
free online games online casino
arizona forest lakes legalized gambling
florida lottery winning losing numbers
las vegas casino online
palace chance online casino no deposit bonus
comment jouer au poker en ligne pour l'argent
purchase turnkey online casino
usa legal online casino
mit students master blackjack
online-freerolls ladbrokes casino bookmakermi
online gambling pai gow bonus poker us allowed
casino free slot games

Anonymous said...

Поздравления с днем святого Валентина стихи
[url=]Поздравления с днем святого Валентина[/url]
Поздравления с днем святого Валентина стихи

Anonymous said...

DstNut [url=]シャネル 財布[/url] VcsWbs VeoJuc [url=]コーチ バッグ[/url] UfsCae OtyPhi [url=]プラダ バッグ 新作 2012 秋冬[/url] OmyQke ZkbIim [url=]コーチ アウトレット[/url] MhhJtn

Anonymous said...

scott peterson dating [url=]rob pattison and kristen stewart dating[/url] best totally free dating sites
jason mraz dating [url=]trace his name on dating sites[/url] cougar dating in omaha
international dating service to find tranny [url=]dating longview washington[/url] dating service ranking comparison

Anonymous said...

osha 300 log software material managment software inserts [url=]gp68 software[/url] panda internet software
[url=]DigitalAnarchy ToonIt 2.51 for Photoshop CS3 x64 - Software Store[/url] open source software for solaris

Anonymous said...

red river pharmacy services texarkana texas online pharmacy generic xanax bars [url=]national pet pharmacy[/url]
pharmacy online australia midwestern university pharmacy chicago [url=]mxman[/url]
long term pharmacy solutions in ma sleep solutions compounded pharmacy [url=]suzy pharmacy progreso[/url]
top foods pharmacy pharmacy technician online training [url=]cystone[/url]

Anonymous said...

how much does a pharmacy tech earn southlake pharmacy [url=]retail pharmacy manager opportunities[/url]
medical park pharmacy pharmacy benefits management [url=]singulair[/url]
wellness pharmacy in alabama westbury pharmacy [url=]pharmacy sources[/url]
in job pharmacy texas pharmacy shools [url=]retin a 0 02 [/url]

Anonymous said...

dating in highschool [url=]free online fantasy romance novels[/url] dating in sydney
free online chat and dating service ed helms dating
dating cousin through marriage [url=]dating selmer saxophones[/url] play it cool dating

Anonymous said...

bit for bit clone software tax software amend return tax cpa [url=]dvd burning software in fedora 7[/url] palm software marine
[url=]Account Login - Software Store[/url] dvd backup software for

Anonymous said...

dating of propofol j michaels mike james dating
free dating services for houston [url=]dating someone bipolar roller coaster[/url] woman 55 dating poss
australian dating network [url=]w1103 marina dating[/url] dating only [url=]hersheychix[/url] transe dating

jay paul said...

Really nice post, you got great blog and Thank you for sharing This excellently written content. Waiting for next one.

HP - ENVY 15.6" Laptop - 8GB Memory - 750GB Hard Drive - Natural Silver

HP - 14" EliteBook Notebook - 4 GB Memory and 180 GB Solid State Drive - Platinum