Behind the Badge

This is a joke, right?

The dispatcher called me one afternoon, when I was working Hilton Head as the shift supervisor, and told me that the Solicitor wanted to speak to the supervisor. I called the Solicitor and told him that I was the supervisor on duty. He told me that one of his relatives, who owned a house on Hilton Head, had called him all upset because the next door neighbor's dogs kept running loose in her yard. He told me that the neighbor had been talked to before but nothing seemed to help matter any.

He told me he wanted me to put a stop to it this afternoon. I told him I would talk to the man and tell him if it happened again I would put him in jail for a violation of the county leash law. He said no, that was not good enough. He wanted me to tell the man that if it happened again I was going to go to his house and shoot his dogs right there in his front yard.

For a minute I didn't say anything hoping that he would change his mind and tell me not to do it. He asked me if I understood what he wanted done. I told him I understood. He told me to do it then. He told me where the man worked and said he was at work right now and he wanted me to give him the message before he got off work. He then hung up.

I just looked at the phone for a while. This was a fine mess I was in now. I didn't want to tell someone that if his dogs got loose again I was going to kill them. Yet I knew very well how powerful the Solicitor was in South Carolina. If I ever wanted to win another of my cases in General Sessions Court or for that matter if I ever wanted to go any higher in law enforcement in South Carolina, I'd better do as he told me.

The man worked as a bartender at a German restaurant on the south end of Hilton Head Island. I sat in the parking lot for a long time before I finally got out of my car and headed inside.

I got inside, and the manager sent the man out to the lobby for me. My heart sank as the man walked toward me. He seemed like a nice, clean cut guy. I had been hoping that he would be a dirt bag. That would have made my job easier.

I told him who I was and that his neighbor was related to the Solicitor, who had called me. I told him that I had been told to tell him that if his dogs went into the neighbor's yard again, I would come kill them no matter where they were when I got there. He just looked at me, then asked if this was some kind of a joke. I told him it was very serious.

The man got very upset and asked me whom I thought I was to tell him something like that. I told him that I was a Deputy Sheriff and I was just doing what the Solicitor told me to do. He told me he didn't know who or what the Solicitor was, but he better quit threatening him. I informed him that the Solicitor was the same thing as the District Attorney.

I left the restaurant hoping that the man would keep his dogs at home. I didn't know what I would do if I got a call from the Solicitor, telling me to go kill the dogs. If he didn't keep the dogs at home, then I hoped some other poor supervisor would be on duty when the Solicitor called again.

The next afternoon when I came on duty, I was given a message to call the Solicitor. I figured this was it, now I'd have to decide what to do. I called the Solicitor and found him in a good mood, which put me at ease. He asked me if I really told that guy I would kill his dogs if they got loose again. I told him yes, that I surely did. He told me, that was great. He said he hadn't believed I'd really do it. I told him I hadn't wanted to, but he told me to so I did it. He told me the guy was really upset and I told him I already knew it. He also told me that he had spoken to the man, and they had come to an understanding, and he didn't believe there would any more problems.

He got very serious and asked me if he had told me to kill the dogs, would I. I was honest with him and said I wasn't sure. We both had a good laugh over that.

by R.L. Dettwiler

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