Quiet days not unusual for Montevallo Police

Published 11:46 am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Patrol Officer Jason Thrash chats with UM student, Michelle Anderson, and high school students, Charles Barrett and Jacouri Burns. (Contributed)

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

Looking forward to an afternoon of excitement with a mix of anticipation and apprehension, I climbed into the police car with Patrol Officer Jason Thrash. I had thought a story about an afternoon in the working life of a Montevallo policeman would be interesting for my readers.

I had not been in a police car before, and I was impressed with the equipment. Thrash pointed out and explained the radio, the radar, the light and siren control panels and the front and back video/audio cameras. In the trunk of the car there is an AR15 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun. “Don’t often need those,” said Thrash said, “but it’s important to have them when we do need them.”

In thinking about the hours I was to spend with the police, I was just certain we’d have at least one high-speed chase, a drug bust, a fire, a foot pursuit,or some kind of exciting criminal activity,but no such luck. This was to be just a typical afternoon in a quiet, little town.

We followed some of the “quiet day” routine of the patrol officer. We rode through the neighborhoods checking for any unusual activity, and just letting citizens know that the police are alert and concerned. We visited the schools, walked the halls and chatted with some of the teachers and students. I watched as Thrash patrolled the elementary school crossing. By radio, we learned that there was a traffic stop with a search of the car and its occupants on Boundary Street, so we pulled in just to stand by. No arrest was made there, probably just a ticket.

There were two other officers on duty that afternoon, and they were busy answering calls for tag IDs, making traffic stops, writing reports, etc. One interesting call came from a worried mom who had not heard from her son for several days. The officers checked and found him to be OK, just a little negligent about calling his folks.

Thrash explained that he has been a policeman in Alabaster and Montevallo for seven years. “I chose to be a police officer,” he said, “so that I could help people and help solve their problems.”  Solving problems in a small city could mean anything from rounding up an errant cow to responding to a bank robbery.

The hours I spent with Officer Thrash provided no frightening excitement, but they did convince me that he and the other 23 members of the MPD take seriously their slogan: “A duty to protect, and an honor to serve.”
Catherine Legg can be reached at clegg2@bellsouth.net.