SPD deserves praise

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 6, 2008

I limited Friday to a cookout, books and movies with a couple of friends.

Everyone else had news covered.

A quiet day by the river until …

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Just around midnight, photographer Amy Collins called. Someone had walked up to her house and taken a camera belonging to the newspaper out of her car as she unloaded it.

She had called police, who responded quickly.

Within the hour, Collins, public safety reporter Katie Nichols and I sat in police headquarters as the suspect sat in another room.

We&8217;d watched officer James Bevel bring him in.

OK, I thought. At least a suspect and quickly, too.

But I was a little disappointed that the suspect didn&8217;t have the camera.

Several minutes later, officer R. Johnson (no first names &8212; guys you kill me with this) walked in with a white plastic bag. I saw the strap.

He smiled and handed over the bag.

Time down? About two hours from the time of the report. We checked out the equipment. Everything there, except for a lens belonging to Collins.

Even the card with the photos survived.

Det. Beauty Benjamin came in later, read the suspect his rights and asked a few questions.

I stood in the hall and listened to him talk about getting the equipment. We all got home before 1 a.m.

We were fortunate.

Collins had presence of mind to call officers immediately. At some point, one officer on patrol had seen the suspect with the camera.

They began looking for him.

Obviously, the guy needed a fix. He wanted to sell the camera for $20 &8212; nowhere near the selling price of even a used Nikon D-200.

We received our tax dollars worth Friday night and then some.

The officers and detective we worked with treated us with professional courtesy, answered questions patiently and appeared genuinely concerned about our plight.

They did their jobs and then some.

That&8217;s indicative of what we hear every day and night on our police scanners. They&8217;re out there, Selma, and they&8217;re working hard for us.

Not every case is as simple as ours, but we haven&8217;t stumbled across a bad attitude among the officers we&8217;ve worked with lately.

Thanks, folks, for a user-friendly police department and for doing your jobs so efficiently.

Leesha Faulkner is executive editor of The Selma Times-Journal and selmatimesjournal.com. You may

reach her at 410-1730 or e-mail her at leesha.faulkner@selmatimesjournal.com.