BHPB Chapters

Plus title anecdotes (with original publication date)

(1) An introduction to the weekly Police Beat column in the Bar Harbor Times

Headline: “Knife-Wielding Satanist Arrested” (9-11-86)

(2) A history of how the column started

Editorial: “From the pillow to the police court.” (5-3-79)

(3) The initial controversy over naming people’s names in print, before they are proven guilty in a court of law

“Why are the names of people who are arrested and/or in car accidents reported while a woman can hang upside down from a pole at 5:30 a.m. in the morning and remain anonymous? Who decides who is to be subjected to this method of ostracism?” (6-21-79)

(4) Confusing circumstances, as described in Police Beat

“Last Thursday, police received a report of suspicious circumstances at the Emerson School when an unidentified caller reported seeing somebody inside the school late at night. Police responded, and discovered a cardboard cutout of Michael Jackson hung in one of the doorways.” (4-28-88)

(5) Mistakes made in the reporting of Police Beat

“A 3-1/2-year-old boy who was reported last week to have ridden a tricycle from Hulls Cove to the corner of Eden and Cottage Streets apparently did not travel the four-mile distance indicated in police records. The youth had been staying at a Rodick Street residence at the time of his travels around town.” (9-16-82)

(6) Describing weeks when some island police forces actually had nothing to do

“In anticipation of Santa Claus’ arrival, all was quiet in Tremont last week.” (12-20-84)

(7) Describing people who had especially bad days

“A Southwest Harbor boy received contusions and abrasions when he reportedly became tangled in a rope swing at Long Pond. The boy, 14, was swinging on a rope on Sunday when his foot got caught as he attempted to jump in the water. He was dragged back and knocked unconscious on the rocks.” (6-18-87)

(8) Describing the official language of Police Beat

“The officer also charged him with possession of a Schedule X drug after finding hashish in a rear pocket.” (7-17-80)

(9) A la Dragnet, ‘just the facts’: unusual descriptions in Police Beat

“Also on the 11th, police responded to a call for assistance from the operator of a Cottage Street restaurant who reportedly evicted a customer he found sitting at a table with his pants not all the way up. [The] subject claimed he was in town to conduct a taste survey of the seawater in various New England harbors.” (11-17-83)

10) The police give advice, a la Dear Abby

“A woman called police Sunday to report a man making threats to harm her and burn down her house. Police talked to the man and told him to calm down.” (3-17-83)

(11) Tourist anecdotes in Police Beat

“The explosion also spewed up rocks and debris which pelted down on and into a rental car driven by [two] visitors from Wheaton, Maryland. Although they were reportedly shaken up and covered with dirt they did not appear to have been injured. . . .” (7-21-88)

(12) Con artists, thieves, etc. in Police Beat

“At one Bar Harbor restaurant, a customer left a $50 bill unpaid, and at another, a young man was seen climbing through the bathroom window to avoid a bill of $5.10.” (8-28-80)

(13) Mountain climbing accidents in Acadia National Park, part of Police Beat

“Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue squad members assisted rangers recently in the rescue of a Canadian man injured while climbing cliffs on Champlain Mountain in the vicinity of the Precipice Trail. According to rangers, the injured climber fell approximately 25 feet while leading a technical climb on the difficult route known as Chittlin’s Corner. Following first aid for a broken ankle and lacerated head, the injured climber rappelled approximately 175 feet to rescuers who carried him in a litter, over terrain strewn with massive boulders, to a waiting ambulance.” (8-23-84)

(14) Animal incidents in Police Beat

“Responding to a report of fighting at a Town Hill residence, the police chief was attacked repeatedly by a wild turkey. According to the chief, the bird made several charges, and pecked him on the foot and leg. The chief was able to ward off his attacker with a ‘swift kick.’ Neither the chief nor the bird sustained serious injury. ‘The last time we went there,’ said one officer, ‘they opened the front door and a goat came out after us.’” (1-13-83)

(15) Three animal epics, describing a murdered owl, an escaped bear, and a lost chicken

“The owl had been nursed back to health following an accident last August when he was sprayed by a skunk and, blinded, flew into the path of a car.” (12-24-81)

(16) A typical (?) day in the life of a Bar Harbor policeman

“Last Wednesday, officers answered a call from a School Street woman who reported that she had five inches of water in her basement. Officers stood by until plumbers arrived.” (12-23-82)

(17) The police are sent to investigate strange events. . . and find nothing.

“Officers responded to a report on Friday afternoon that a man with a plastic bag was ‘doing pushups in the middle of Cottage Street.’ Police indicated the subject was ‘gone on arrival.’” (2-3-83)

(18) People calling the police for ridiculous reasons

“Also last Friday, an out-of-state visitor informed police that a ‘large international group’ was out to get him, and that the previous night they had sprayed chemicals and drugs in the air at his motel in Brewer, which irritated his nasal membranes.” (5-12-83)

(19) Featuring visitors from outer space

“A Roberts Avenue woman reported seeing a UFO trailing a ball of flame at 9:00 on the 5th.” (11-12-81)

(20) Letters to the editor of the Bar Harbor Times, concerning the Bar Harbor police

“To the Editor: Recently I was arrested and charged with assault. I, too, was assaulted, but was told I didn’t have a right to press charges against the woman. I’m all for the equal rights amendment, but where does one draw the line?” (letter from a Bar Harbor man, 2-19-81)

(21) Incidents (mostly wrecks) involving Bar Harbor police cars

“The new cruiser for the Bar Harbor Harbor Department was officially outfitted last week with the placement of the department decals. The Chrysler Newport has a 318-cubic-inch engine and is equipped with heavy duty features as a ‘police package’ vehicle. The new cruiser has already suffered minor damage. About $100 in front-end damages occurred when the cruiser struck a post during a routine check at the high school.” (3-29-79)

(22) Incidents (ditto) involving civilian vehicles

“The arresting officer reported that the OUI suspect threw a bag of what appeared to be marijuana at the police cruiser, used abusive language, threatened to kill him, and spat in his face before passing out.” (7-24-86)

(23) Unusual items stolen, as reported in Police Beat

“Between February 18 and 22, police learned that five summer homes along the shore had been entered. Apparently nothing was taken except for approximately 75¢ from the Rockefeller home.” (2-28-80)

(24) Unusual items lost (and also found), as reported in Police Beat

“Police have no idea who owns 50 pounds of cheese found hidden in a bush on Lower Ledgelawn Avenue last Thursday, including large blocks of provolone, Swiss, and cheddar. The cheese is still wrapped, although police say that it had been unrefrigerated for some time, and ants had gotten to parts of it.” (10-1-87)

(25) Sex, etc.

“While on ‘routine patrol’ at 1:30 a.m. on the 4th, officers stumbled across a local couple ‘practicing the art of human reproduction’ in the center of Grant’s Park.” (9-9-82)

(26) Intrusion of the real world into Police Beat, a more serious section including rape, child abuse, product tampering, drug crime, toxic waste, and murder

“The Southwest Harbor police chief reports that citations for speeding have doubled over the past month. Apparently, some drivers are speeding from place to place so that if they’re going to run out of gas, they’ll get it over with.” (7-5-79)

(27) Gunplay and other shooting incidents, as reported in Police Beat

“Several persons called saying a young man was firing shots into the air at Grant’s Park. According to arresting officer Karl Griffin, who responded to the calls, the shooter was very cooperative, and surrendered a shotgun, a rifle, and a pistol without any resistance.” (9-20-79)

(28) Senseless violence, plus stupid and/or messy incidents in Police Beat

“Officers also answered numerous complaints about local youths honking horns, howling like dogs, and generally being rowdy in the downtown area.” (6-20-85)

(29) A small selection of other Police Beat-type items found by or sent to me from around the U.S. or around the world

“Sheriff MacKay told MacRae: ‘I wish you would behave yourself. You are going to end up in prison very very soon unless you get a grip on yourself.’” (from the Inverness [Scotland] Courier, 3-12-93)

(30) The best of the best, the greatest Police Beat items of all

“At press time Wednesday, the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta announced that the object found last Friday on Bar Island was ‘definitely not a tongue of any sort,’ and that ‘as far as we can determine, it is not any kind of human tissue.’” (7-15-82)

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