MMM small town politics

CHAPTER 12

After interrogating Sean and Randy, Ben and Mac were in a quandary trying to figure out what to do next. Sam Fitch, the most recent appointee to the position of Police Chief walked in and interrupted,

“Where are we on this dead orchard thing”

“The ME report identified the body and cause of death. Interviewing the boys didn’t add anything. It looks like we need to launch a full-scale investigation. No motive, no weapon and no witnesses. And we’ll need ballistics, DNA, all the tech stuff too.”

“It sounds like you are on the right track. Just make sure you keep me in the loop.”

Sam Fitch was promoted to Police Chief in 2011, shortly after his most recent failure to file a prompt investigative report on a cat burglary. With his flagging record of repeated mistakes and failures as a Senior Detective Investigator, this one more less guaranteed his promotion.

The Deer Park City Council’s unwritten and unspoken policy was to promote a failing detectives up the ladder to administrative positions. The policy decision was well established by historical precedent. The only real qualifications were the candidate had to be decent looking, be a likeable cuss and have the respect of the lower echelons of the town’s social classes. It was good fit for Sam Fitch because it gave him more authority and a limited need for rational judgment.

Fitch’s promotion was without prejudice or conditions, but it was understood by all concerned that if he screwed up the Chief’s job, the Council would have to resort to running him for Mayor or a spot on the Council. That would be the only way to absorb their collective bad judgment of character.

The Chief currently was taking his new position seriously. After studying the job description he had decided that his main job was to keep the populace informed and serve as a conduit to the media. Since his vocabulary and intellect were limited, he decided to use the Internet to get his HR and PR messages out.

Plowing on. The chief continued,

“I got a call from a reporter yesterday. I don’t know how they found out about it but you need to know your victim was wearing a t-shirt with a swastika on it. They were questioning me about Nazis.”

Ben countered with, “And last week The Herald-Review reported that crime rates have been going down. They published one of your PR tweets about materials being distributed.”

“When the reporter asked about racist/skinhead activity in Deer Park,

I told ‘em I couldn’t remember when we’ve had stuff passed out. We don’t want folks passing out printed material, but not necessarily because of content.”

“Did you read the content?”

“No. Nobody turned a copy in with the complaint.”

“Well then?”

“Then the reporter asked if I thought the content was important. I told him yeah but we’re more concerned about the safety of people passing stuff out. I couldn’t recall a time when Nazis had tried to recruit in Deer Park. Besides, people who pass stuff out are not breaking any city laws. They’re not violating the Green River ordinance.”

As Ben and Mac’s patience wore thin, they moved to end the Chief’s shameless self-promoting monologue.

Mac butted in, “Well, we need to get a move on. Ben told you the ME gave us a name and cause of death and not much else.”

“Right. Let’s get on it, Mac. You go out to the crime scene and see if we missed anything. Keep an eye out for a gun or a shovel or anything else that might help. I’ll go over the Hospital and see if I can get anything out of the nurse. I don’t want to bring her in for questioning just yet.”

 

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