Checking the cryptic Sheriff’s Log in the Redwood Times reveals a curious euphemism: the “unwanted individual.” As a chubby, balding, middle-aged guy, I don’t think there’s anyone out there with a strong desire for me. One woman tolerates me. How close am I to to becoming the focus of our local Sheriff’s deputies? Like it’s not bad enough, that no one wants you, a cop has to come up and remind you that you’re really unattractive, and let you know that folks around here resent your ugliness. That’s gotta hurt. If that happened to me, I’d probably shit on a downtown door-stoop
It looks, from the listings in the paper, that deputies spend about half of their time in SoHum chasing these “unwanted individuals” who always seem to turn up in Garberville. Why they never go to Redway, I do not know. I know of plenty of guys out in the hills, at least as ugly as me, who no woman will tolerate, but, it seems, the “unwanted individuals” right in Garberville keep them pretty busy.
I thought cops looked for “wanted” criminals. Like we don’t have enough of them to keep them busy. Instead, our deputies relentlessly pursue these “unwanted individuals”. How exactly do you become an “unwanted individual”? Not that I’m aspiring, or anything. If you commit a crime, then you’re “wanted”. If you witness a crime you’re a “person of interest”. So, these “unwanted individuals” have neither committed, nor witnessed any crimes. They haven’t broken the law.
Do you become an “unwanted individual” by hanging around Garberville all day in a bad mood, doing nothing? That pretty much describes most of our local merchants these days. I don’t see any cops harassing them. I know the merchants in town would like us all to wear nicer clothes, eat out more, and get a haircut every once in a while. Do they decide, at a certain point, that you become criminally unpresentable, and call the cops on you?
And the cops respond! Like, they’ve got nothing better to do. It seems like our deputies do an awful lot of stuff that’s really not their job, just because someone asked. Whether they’re inspecting building code violations in the rural areas, checking dog vaccination records of pedestrians with K9 companions, or preemptively evicting a much needed port a-pottie, they always seem to have time on their hands for these activities. I suspect these “unwanted individual” excursions provide some diversion from the tedium of their day, but can we, as taxpayers, afford it?
Cops cost a lot of tax dollars. They get fat paychecks, benefits and pensions! Who gets pensions anymore? For that matter, who gets benefits? Long overdue cuts in the Sheriff’s Dept. could save the county millions. Thanks to prop.215, deputies have a lot less pointless work to do, and its time to trim the pork. Providing taxpayer subsidized bouncers to the Garberville Chamber of Commerce seems like a waste of tax dollars to me. Let the chamber hire their own bouncers. You don’t see sheriffs deputies working security at the mall, do you? No, you see bored looking guys in vaguely cop-like uniforms, who definitely are not cops.
Then again, Garberville is not a mall, or a theme park. G,ville is an unincorporated area without a single stoplight. All kinds of people pass through here, but our merchants cater to the more upscale. As both the local and national economy sink back into recession, fewer of the people passing through Garberville will purchase dashboard hula dancers, stained glass Harley-Davidson signs or $80 jeans, making our local merchants grumpier than ever about people who just want to relax in the shade or need to use the bathroom. That doesn’t make it a law enforcement issue.