Along this summer’s tourist-filled main street of Plains, a silent sentinel stood relentless watch for potential speeders and ner-do-wells.
A new addition to the Town of Plains Police Department, this dedicated public servant proved eerily effective in keeping speeds down and rules of the road observed for visitors and locals alike.
Who is this new officer?
I had to know.
Through word of mouth I learned the officer’s name and set out to obtain an exclusive interview.
Officer Manny Quinn sat motionless inside the black and white patrol vehicle that is parked on various locations along Highway 200.
I rapped lightly on the vehicle’s window, careful not to startle an obviously focused officer whose eyes were locked on the road ahead.
Me: Officer Quinn, that is your name, right? I have a few questions to ask you about your new job if you would be so kind.
Me: Am I interrupting your train of thought?
Me: Wow, you really are dedicated to your task at hand, just like I’ve heard. Can you just comment on the effectiveness you’ve achieved in causing brake lights to turn red all along this busy street?
Me: I’ve heard from thirst-quenchers at the local watering holes that you are pretty quiet and reserved, they weren’t kidding.
Me: Nothing to say? Can you at least confirm that you are a female officer and your name is indeed Manny Quinn?
Me: Cat have your tongue? Or are you adhering to gender neutrality guidelines?
Me: Moving along, is it hard to sit here rigidly all day and into the night?
Quinn: (still nothing, just a waxed expression staring straight ahead)
Me: This may be the worst interview I’ve ever conducted! I think the fine folks of Plains would love to hear your thoughts!
A new tactic, perhaps, was needed with this one. Maybe a comment about politics, always a conversation starter, will get Manny’s tongue flapping.
Me: What do you think about the state of back-and-forth do nothingness that is so prevalent in Washington, DC, these days?
Me: I can’t argue with that… leaves me speechless too!!
Sensing my interview was flopping I decided to put the pad and pen away. I thanked Officer Quinn for her service as I do whenever I can with all law enforcement and military members.
As I walked away, I couldn’t help but turn around and go back to offer some small town advice.
“Welcome to Plains. If I may offer some personal advice…. you may want to loosen up a bit, you’re too tight and this is a pretty laid back town. And you may want to park the patrol rig in the shade, you seem to have fair skin and we wouldn’t want you melting in the hot sun. Bahahaha!”
Chuck Kvelve Bandel is a reporter for the Mineral Independent and Clark Fork Valley Press. Look for his “Kvelve’s Comments” column weekly.