My first time in a deputy’s backseat

Published 5:41 pm Friday, April 28, 2017

While working on a story about a female law enforcement officer this week, I was exposed to the back seat of a sheriff’s car for the first time.

It was not the first time I have ridden in a sheriff’s car, by any means. I served a dozen or so years in Ohio working for the court system as a juvenile probation officer, court investigator, and served papers for the sheriff’s department.

I actually had my own radio-equipped vehicle, but often rode with the deputies on stakeouts or transporting juveniles to group homes or detention centers.

One time I actually had the experience of having a canine in the back seat of the squad car. It was not your usual drug dog, but my very own 12 year-old beagle named Belle.

Being a Beagle, Belle was difficult to keep corralled and she loved to wander the small town where we lived. Consequently, she was well known to all, including law enforcement.

One cold Saturday night the Dispatcher at the Sheriff’s office called to tell me that Belle had been picked up by animal control and was placed in an outdoor run at the dog pound where she would be kept until Monday morning, when I would have to come pay the fine to get her released.

Knowing she had serious arthritis and would be miserable at the pound, I convinced the young deputy to take me out to pick her up and bring her home. Naturally, he followed the rules of calling in his location when he arrived and broadcast he was leaving for the station with one canine in custody. Belle, who was riding in the back behind the screen, bayed loudly all the way to town, confirming his mission.

So, I have now squeezed myself into the back seat where all those in custody are placed. I was not handcuffed, nor did I bay all the way.