The Detective in the Dooryard: Reflections of a Maine Cop

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Tim Cotton has been a police officer for more than thirty years. The writer in him has always been drawn to the stories of the people he has met along the way. Dealing with the standard issue ne’er-do-wells as a patrol officer, homicide detective, polygraph examiner, and later as the lieutenant in charge of the criminal investigation division certainly provides an interesting backdrop—but more often he writes about the regular folks he encounters, people who need his help, or those who just want to share a joke or even a sad story.

The Detective in the Dooryard is composed of stories about the people, places, and things of Maine. There are sad stories, big events, and even the very mundane, all told from the perspective of a seasoned police office and in the wry voice of a lifelong Mainer. Many of the stories will leave you chuckling, some will invariably bring tears to your eyes, but all will leave you with a profound sense of hope and positivity.

From the Publisher

From the chapter, “Got Warrants?”

After being called to a car burglary in progress, Bangor cops located a suspect in a nearby park. The suspect, wearing clothing similar to the man last seen rummaging through someone else’s car, used a technique that never gets old—lying.

The subtle movement of the lips is one indicator that lies are being told, but is not the most reliable.

When the proceeds from the theft are recovered in one pocket, and medicinal, calming herbs (weed) are found in the other, always go with the “These are not my pants,” defense.

No, I am not kidding. He told the officer that the pants belonged to a friend.

As our cop counted out the contents of the pockets, other officers aided in the investigation to find out which cars from the neighborhood were missing items.

The copious amount of coinage recovered from the “other guy’s pants” seemed excessive. The suspect, who said his name was Joshua (always go with a biblical character’s name first), told us that he had recently purchased a soft drink from a local bodega. He said he received the coins as change from the transaction.

Cops felt that the gold collectible coin, emblazoned with Ronald Reagan’s name, would not typically come back as change from a convenience store. “Joshua” said that the coin was a family heirloom that had been passed down for generations.

We wondered why the family heirloom had been discovered in the pocket of someone else’s trousers. Apparently these pants, and this heirloom, “got around.”

After further questioning, the man was found to be named Justin. Justin had bail conditions from previous interactions with law enforcement. Justin said he tried to tell the officers his real name earlier, but they would not listen—probably because they were still trying to process why the pants fit him so perfectly. Our guys and gals know that when they borrow other people’s pants, the legs are always too long.

Justin was charged with burglary of a motor vehicle, theft, and violation of bail conditions. He swore that he had seen the individuals the officers had been looking for. He said he heard them running in the other direction while he wandered in the park. Of course you did, Justin. Of course you did.

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