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Women pull their weight as officers
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Covering the search for the home burglar proved once again that women officers prove their worth more often than not.  School resource officer April Smith was part of the human perimeter that had been set up around a corn field south of the Del Webb community.

A burglar had surprised a home owner about 10 a.m. Friday and police had pulled in all available officers including school officers Smith and Eva Steele to hunt for him in a corn field east of Airport Way.

After several hours of searching and patience in waiting, the suspect popped up over the fence on the north side of the corn field.  Eyeball to eyeball with Officer Smith he popped back down and ran deep into the 8- to 10-foot-high corn stalks.

Steele was quick to go for water when Canine Officer Randy Chiek came out of the corn field after nearly four hours of searching with his police dog, “Coal.”  He was obviously dehydrated and trying to fight off heat exhaustion.  She used the water to pour on his neck and down his chest to bring down his temperature as Gang Enforcement Officer Jason Hensley also poured water over his head.  An ambulance crew was called to the scene to make sure the officer was going to be alright.
Former Ripon Police Chief Douma is great company
Following an interview with former Ripon Police Chief Harvey Douma Friday morning for the Ripon High Centennial, I got a call that I needed to cover the home burglary at Del Webb on Lathrop Road and Airport Way.

A Ripon police chief for some 18 years, he was now in the spotlight for being one of the oldest grads from Ripon High in the weekend 100-year celebration of the school.  At 93, the chief is still very sharp and who couldn’t enjoy his company.  So I told him where I was going and invited him to shadow me – that he did for nearly four hours.  Then with the capture of the burglary suspect we went over to Perko’s and had lunch.

He got to see his department’s powered parachute in action searching for the elusive suspect in the cornfield and he got to see another department at work.  Without a doubt it brought back memories with many of the officers taking time to walk over to the car and shake his hand and introduce themselves.  It was a very good day for both of us.

Manteca officer goes an extra mile
In the story about the little 3-year-old girl who ran to the fire department to get help for her unconscious father, there were a couple of first responders who were deserving of mention.  Since I wasn’t aware of the situation until a day later, it was only the firemen that made it into the story.

A sensitive Manteca Police officer on the scene felt it might be hurtful to have the press cover a story of a family that had medical issues – so he was mum after arriving on the scene.  It was Kirk Doty, however, who also went the extra mile to drive to the mother’s work place and chauffeur her back to the hospital to be with her husband.

Another caring individual, Community Service Officer Barbara Hall, stayed with the young girl and kept her occupied until her mother was done at the hospital and satisfied that her husband was going to survive.  My hat is off to both of them for caring while in the line of duty, something the family will long remember.

George Murphy & the Bulletin ‘ghost’
Longtime Manteca Bulletin publisher, the late George Murphy, did his best writing before dawn – before staff members and members of the public were demanding his attention at the office.  He often said he couldn’t think or concentrate as well with a building full of people.  I remember that well back in the early 1960s.

We’ve had something of a strange occurrence here in the office this last week.  One of the night staffers noticed a light go on in one of the small offices as he walked by going to the front of the building.  Then there was a rustling of a piece of paper as though someone was wadding up a draft and throwing it away.  The door closed shut. Upon his investigation, opening the door, there was no one there.

His questioned whether we could have a ghost in the building.  It shook him up so badly he said he had to go outside, have a cigarette and settle down.  Probably not the best ideas as the staff of the ’60s were pretty much all smokers.  He could have had more company than he wanted out in the dark.  Guess there’s a lot to be learned about the spirit world.  It could’ve been “Murph” and he would have been totally frustrated by not being able to find at least one typewriter in the building.

Tourists donate $100 to GECAC
A couple weeks ago we published a photograph of the 100-foot fire department ladder truck – a publicity shot outside Applebee’s’ Restaurant where firemen were going to serve as waiters with their tips going to the Give Every Child A Chance free tutorial effort in Manteca.

Firemen stood in the foreground with restaurant staffers and in the bucket above their head were one firefighter and a couple visiting from Oregon who had been waiting for the 11 a.m. opening of the eatery for lunch.

They had just returned from Yosemite National Park on their vacation, on their way to San Francisco.  We all chatted with them for a few minutes and I mentioned that they would probably enjoy stopping at the Bass Pro Shops on Highway 120.

The next thing I knew they had been invited to be in the picture and they relished being up in the basket.  Two copies of the Bulletin were sent to them by Fire Captain Steve Santos and he got a reply – a check for $100 to be given to Give Every Child a Chance.  

Dolores Russell wrote in her letter, “I’ve looked them up (GECAC) on the Internet.  They clearly provide a great service to children and families in your community.  Please pass the check on to them with your tips from the fundraiser.”

Gotta admit that was one of those special “moments in time.”