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Police winning streak stopped

The uncanny ability of police employees to win a radio station's call-in contest has come to an end. Police Chief Roger Haddix said Tuesday he will stop allowing employees to play the game that netted at least 10 of them $17,991 out of $53,500 worth of prizes _ nearly a third of the total WFSY has given away since March 28.

"I'm going to stop it rather than create the impression that we're not doing our job," Haddix said. "It has raised morale around here a good bit. I guess, frankly, I wonder why (they are winning), too."

It is a question that has baffled station and telephone company officials as well.

"It's a phenomenon that I don't understand," Southern Bell spokesman John Robbins said.

At the station's request, telephone technicians examined the police phone system and found nothing that would give calls from the department priority over those from other locations. The only advantages may be access to a lot of phone lines and a speed-dialing feature.

Contestants are asked to identify a previously named song and call in when they hear it played. The first correct caller wins.

Police winners have ranged from secretaries to detectives, according to records kept by the station. Two employees have won three times, each netting more than $3,000 worth of prizes.

"The only way I can see it is they are some of our most reliable listeners," said Randy Sheffield, vice president of Woodson Group, which owns the station. "We certainly appreciate them, and we want them to participate."

The chief insisted the game has not detracted from employee performance or interfered with everyday operations.