I am not a police officer, nor do I ever expect to be so. That being said, I think that if you asked most law enforcement officers they would note that one of the most important functions of their job is to make sure the criminals go to jail and stay there. Therefore, when the friendly local sheriffs department in my town made to bold decision to allow an inmate housed in their jail to simply change into street clothes and walk out of the kitchen door UNSUPERVISED I would consider that a failure. And epic failure.
Now I am not trying to rag on the friendly local sheriffs department, okay? Let's get that clear. I've met a few of the guys and gals who work up there and in general they are pretty nice when they aren't pulling me over. That being said, I wouldn't wish this type of thing on the kids up there, but it happened. By far the biggest epic fail of the day I would say. So now, it's a rainy Thursday and there is a criminal on the loose in my tiny town. The story was all over the news on TV and on the radio, and the friendly local sheriffs department fired up that automated calling software that called everyone in the area to let them know that there was a wanted criminal running around. That being said the word spread at beyond lightening speed using the most efficient and most reliable yet least accurate form of communication: word of mouth.
This is where epic fail #2 happened. As would be expected, suddenly the entire town turned into one gigantic group of people playing the game telephone. Like you used to play in kindegarden with your friends. Except this was with grown ups. And sometimes involved a real telephone. The reason that it very rapidly became an epic fail was because by the time that whatever information, or in this case heresay and conjecture, got from Point A to Point Z via Points B thru Y the stories trickling in were wildly divergent. He was armed and dangerous (something the sheriffs department never said). He was holding up banks (something he never did). He was running past the post office (which he might have but probably not because it is on the main drag and he was found the opposite direction from the post office). He was at various times an inmate from Texas, Wisconsin, and Illinois (he was being housed here for crimes committed in the Milwaukee area). So you could see that basically nobody knew anything for real about what was going on other than that an inmate walked away from the jail. Epic fail by the word of mouth method.
Good news is that the friendly local sheriffs department found the guy sitting in someone's van about five or six blocks from the courthouse and jail. It took them roughly seven hours, which when computer using math is slightly more than an hour per block. As I began formulating and writing this post I was ready to call this another epic fail. However, the more that I have written the faster I have sort of flip-flopped and reconsidered my position on the whole matter. I understand that it took seven hours to find someone who was six blocks away, but the more I thought about that the more I realized that I couldn't have done any better. Actually, considering that it was a relatively small, very rural county sheriffs department working in conjunction with a small city police force I thought they did pretty well. Yeah, I know, it was seven hours to search six blocks, but it's a pretty densely packed six blocks. And it's not like a big city where EVERY DOOR is locked. Most people here leave their homes open. Most people here leave their garages open. Most people here leave their sheds open. Get the point? Okay, then one more: most people leave their cars open. The point here is that it was house by house, store by store, etc. by etc. Plus the guy when the exact opposite direction that everyone would have expected him to go. So I guess they did pretty well. That being said I can't just let them out of this, I mean this is a post about epic failures, right? So let's compromise with the sheriffs department and we will borrow a term from NASA. We will call this a successful failure. Successful because they got the guy back. Failure because it took all day. Seriously though, good work guys.
The last epic fail of the day is on the fugitive's head. Yeah, you failed buddy. I mean, you were successful in getting out of prison I suppose, but after that not so much. First of all, I don't know if you could see or if you looked around you on your way here but once you get out of town you are basically in the middle of nowhere. I hope you like running through the woods because that's what you are going to be doing if you escape from jail in these parts. Fail. Second, you had SEVEN HOURS and you only made it like six blocks. Okay, I am fat and lazy and it only takes me like fifteen minutes by foot to get to where you were found, and I live four blocks the other direction from the jail. I mean, I know you didn't know where you were going but still, that's pretty weak guy. Fail. Third, in the seventeen seconds it took me to get from the courthouse door to Mike-a-licious' driveway right across the street I thought of about nine ways that I could have gotten out of town and far, far away in the seven hours that the jail breaker had before his capture. Even if I was tromping through the forest in the rain I would have made it at least seven miles away, right? FAIL! Sorry guy. I mean, you were going to get caught eventually anyway because the police have radios and whatnot but you certainly could have put up a much better fight I think. I mean, props to you for taking the opportunity when it presented itself in getting the hell out of there, but not so hot on the running away part. so half and half I suppose.
So anyway, epic fails all around when it came to keeping this guy incarcerated. Epic fail when it came to the dissemination of information. Epic fail when it came to tracking him down quick-like. Epic fail when it came to him getting away. In the end however, it all came back to where it was supposed to be. The guy is locked up like he should be. The town is safe like it should be. The guy will be facing a few extra charges for what I would assume is a myriad of broken laws. And in the end this sleepy little tourist burg got a whole lot of excitement for basically free. All's well that ends well I suppose. Strange how a string of epic fails turned into everything being back to square one, isn't it?