During the week of Spring Break, I was fortunate to get to ride shotgun with my good friend, Lafayette County Sheriff’s Deputy, Dave Cullison. Dave is also an SRO with the Middle School and part of his regular duties find him at athletic events, keeping all the hooligans like myself under control. He is also often part of the “door greeters” at the Middle School in the morning: part of a group of men which often includes Dave, the Asst. Principal and an assortment of coaches. They generally open the passenger doors to allow the car-riding students to exit safely and stand around talking sports all the while.
As most of you likely remember, we lived on the campus of the University of Mississippi the first few months we lived here. The campus falls in the city school district, but we wanted the kids to go to the county school, so I had to take them to school every morning. It was the regular delivery of the kids that first introduced me to Dave and the gang. Over time, however, Dave and I became friends…and I asked him about riding shotgun.
So, over Spring Break, I rode with Dave for about 6 hours. We rode all over Lafayette (pronounced by the locals Luh-Fay-it) county…I saw parts of the county I hope to never see again! Ha It was good, though, to be able to see it and get some of the story on it.
We first went to some of the trouble-spots—those places that folks are known for blatantly breaking the laws, mainly, running stop signs and disregarding public safety because of it. It was a little too early at that time for the lawbreakers to be out…I figure they were still sleeping off hangovers.
So he got a call for a domestic dispute and hightailed it there. It took a few minutes to get there and on the way there, Dave said I was welcome to come with him. I glanced over at him: he was wearing the Sheriff’s department uniform complete with a bullet-proof vest and a pistol at his side. I looked at my garb: blue jeans and a tee-shirt.
I told my good friend Dave that I was content to sit in the car. J
Not that it would have mattered this time…but moments later, a backup officer arrived—also equipped with a bullet-proof vest and a pistol. I remained content to sit in the car.
After surveying the scene, the backup officer—who I later learned was a Captain—returned outside and chatted with me (I was still in the car—the windows rolled down)while we waited on Dave to finish up. We discovered that we both had something in common opposite Dave: We both dislike Notre Dame.
I almost forgot, though…Dave also told me before he got out of the car: “if anything should happen, grab this microphone and call for backup. Be sure to say ‘officer down’.”
I remained content to sit in the car wearing my tee-shirt.