As regular readers of this column know, I think Waleska is the best place on earth to live. I have lived here since 1956 and have never had reason for giving serious thought to living elsewhere.
Located in the middle of town is a sheriff’s precinct established by Sheriff Roger Garrison, with Capt. Joe Satterfield as the ranking officer. It makes me safe just knowing it is around the curve.
Whatever happens, Capt. Satterfield and his deputies are prepared to handle it. While most of their calls are business as usual, there are times when things happen that are totally unexpected. Our law enforcement officers keep their cool and always rise to the occasion.
For example, a state trooper was chasing a vehicle, and after the driver jumped out and ran, the trooper called for help. The culprit was running across Waleska’s streets, through pastures and climbing fences trying to get away.
When two deputies from our local sheriff’s precinct joined the chase, they easily overtook the driver. You see, those officers run marathons.
The excitement should have ended when he was taken into custody. However, there was another chapter to the story.
There were cattle in the pasture where the man was arrested. A big bull decided to join the fray. He charged the deputies and their prisoner.
The marathon running officers could have easily outrun the bull, but they had to protect their handcuffed prisoner. Standing their ground, they shot the bull with a Taser. It temporarily put him on the ground in front of them.
Just a few weeks ago, a neighbor called me. Kip McVay, retired Probate Court judge, was walking her dog in the pasture behind my house. A truck was parked there that she did not recognize.
The truck had a Spalding County tag. Without getting into the vehicle, she could tell it was bought in Vidalia. Strangely, the key was in the truck and there was folding money on the front seat.
She emailed me a picture of the truck from her camera phone. I warned her to get out of the pasture since it might have been stolen.
She assured me she was sufficiently equipped with everything needed to do combat with any man or beast she might encounter.
I believed her. She stays the best prepared of anyone I know for any situation. In fact, I call her our one-woman-neighborhood-watch. She keeps us aware of anything suspicious in Waleska.
I wondered if someone in the family had left the truck there. Thus, I called nearby cousins Jim and Vickie Cline Boswell. They both retired from law enforcement careers so I was sure they would know what to do.
Vickie said they would get on their mule — four-wheeled not four-legged — and check it out. In a few minutes, live from the crime scene as they say on television, she called to say that first, the truck did not belong to anyone in the family and next, she and Jim thought it was stolen, too.
So, they called 911. Since the Waleska Precinct is just across the block, Deputy Jack Fulenwider was there right away. He knew exactly what to do.
After running the tag number of the truck he confirmed it had been stolen in Griffin. He, too, was surprised to see the key in the truck, gas in the tank and $34 on the truck seat.
While searching behind the seat of the truck, Deputy Fulenwider found an unusual box. It was not drugs, nor was it explosives. It was a box of ashes of someone who had been cremated.
It is likely the thief did not know he/she was not alone when driving to Waleska. Grandpa, or whoever it was, had been waylaid on the way to his final resting place.
The owner of the vehicle was notified her truck had been found. She soon had the truck and her dearly departed back in her possession.
Since the vehicle was left in plain view, the key in it, gas in the tank and money on the seat, I think it means that while we occasionally have thieves in our town, they are more honest thieves than those in other cities.
Whoever stole the truck must have just needed a ride to Waleska. It could be that the money on the seat was payback for the gas he used on his trip.
So, I will say it again. Partially, because of the protection we get from Capt. Satterfield and his deputies, plus the good, law abiding people who live here, I think Waleska should have been on that list of safest towns in the state.
Marguerite Cline is former mayor of Waleska.