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A thin blue line … at the buffet

In this week's exciting episode of CSI: Kenneth City, police Chief Doug Pasley, the Eliot Ness of eggs over easy, and his elite team of gourmet gendarmes try to crack the Dunkin' Donut hole caper. • Cue the Law & Short Order Cook boing-boing. • Until recently things had been going swimmingly for Pasley and his band of merry munchers, seeking to serve and protect, but mainly get served breakfast, on their rounds patrolling the mean streets of Kenneth City, or as it might otherwise be known … Western Lealman.

But that was before Mayor Teresa Zemaitis started complaining that Chief Pasley and his elite team of buffet badges seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of time doing anything but keeping the less than 1 square mile of Kenneth City free from fiends, terrorists, door-to-door salesmen, sullen juvenile delinquents and others bent on destroying our way of life.

So Zemaitis enlisted the help of Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats to investigate her own police department. The results weren't pretty as sheriff's sleuths discovered officers, including the chief, enjoying leisurely breakfasts outside the city at a Bob Evans restaurant; other officers routinely turning off their GPS devices as they ventured away from the city while on duty; and officers using the department laptop computers to peruse Craigslist, dating and bodybuilding websites.

In another instance, the sheriff coyly noted that one Kenneth City officer seemed to spend long periods of time in a stationary position, which seems like a pretty good definition of … sleep. But who knows? Perhaps he was waiting for a pizza delivery.

The early bird special kerfuffle has created a stir in Kenneth City, or Upper Lealman Heights as it might otherwise be known. Questions have arisen whether the hamlet even needs a police department if the chief and his officers spend more time reading Bon Appetit than brushing up on the Miranda rule.

But Chief Pasley, the Emeril Lagasse of the somewhat thickening thin blue line, picked himself up, dusted the maple syrup off his chin and went to work defending his three-year tenure in high command of the department. Appearing before a town council workshop (snacks optional), the chief argued he needed at least another year on the job to whip his agency into fighting trim by updating the village's emergency management manual and improving the KCPD's standard operating procedures and equipment, which presumably includes a Mister Coffee machine.

How much time does it take to revise the emergency manual? In Case of Emergency, Step One: Call Sheriff's Department. Step Two: Beg for help. Step Three: Call Bob Evans to check on specials.

The chief whined he has had a hard time implementing changes because his officers keep ignoring him. That is hardly a bold argument for continued job security. Sheesh, Joseph Heller's reclusive Major Major in Catch-22 was a more commanding leadership figure. Of course, it may be difficult for Pasley's officers to understand their orders when the chief is talking with a mouthful of grits. Just a thought.

The Buford T. Justice of Belgian waffles is acting as if he is taming the massive bureaucracy of the New York City Police Department, with its vast precinct system, numerous divisions, air and sea units and even foreign offices. The Kenneth City constabulary has 12 sworn officers and a $1.2 million budget. And at $60,000 a year, Chief Pasley seems more flummoxed over how to get a dozen police officers to follow his orders than Barney Fife trying to load his lone bullet.

It is true that Kenneth City is hardly bursting with fine dining establishments. But if Pasley and his crime-fighting gastronomes are all that hungry, they can bring lunch to work or pop into a nearby Sweetbay supermarket. Or maybe the chief could take advantage of some federal law enforcement stimulus money to park a Taco Bus next to the department. This could be one of the franchise's more successful locations.

The Kenneth City Town Council is reviewing Pasley's stewardship of the police department. This has to be completed no later than July, when a decision must be made to renew the chief's contract. Should things not go Pasley's way, the chief shouldn't worry too much about his employment future. With his considerable experience handling a menu, there's bound to be a maitre d' gig somewhere.

A thin blue line … at the buffet 06/02/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 2, 2011 6:28pm]

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