In the rural West Georgia region known as Heard County, in the late '70's, it was a much different world than anywhere else at the time and certainly no resemblance to anything today.
Law enforcement was most definitely not the same as any other city that had more than two traffic lights. Yes, not only did I work in a town that had only 1 traffic light, it was the only traffic light in the entire county. As a matter of fact, Franklin was the only real town in the whole county. We had a police department consisting of a chief and 4 patrolmen. We worked on rotating shifts, with 1 officer on each shift and the 4th on his days off. The Chief would work day shift on Sat. and Sun. having the day man work a 12 hour shift Fri. and Sat. nights, overlapping the 2nd and 3rd shifts so that 2 officers could handle the weekend mischief.
Other than the weekends, 2nd and 3rd shifts were very lonely. Your only company was the lone deputy at the Sheriff's office.
Don't get me wrong, things happened in that county thru the years that I worked there, but not the non-stop action as you see on TV shows. Even in large towns and cities there are times when nothing happens. In a rural town there is more nothing than something.
About 8pm on Summer's evening, I observed a car approaching at well over the speed limit. As it got closer, I recognized the young man and even knew his parents. He was a good kid and his parents were hard working people, the kind you would like to have for neighbors.
Well "Little Sonny Boy" usually drove the speed limit and obeyed the law. Judging from the bouncing around in the passenger's seat, I surmised his friend was egging him on. Wonton criminal behavior was not to be tolerated in Franklin, Ga.--not on my watch!
As the car approached and saw me, it began to slow down. I turned on the blue lights, just to let them know what was about to happen. A short distance down the road, we pulled to a safe shoulder, where I walked up to the driver's side.
I stood there and just shook my head, waiting for a good story. I really did not like to write tickets. I thought it was better to convince, in one way or another, the offender to obey the law. I must say that I was a little surprised when this pipsqueak stuck his head out of the window and said, "You gotta problem?"
"Did I have a Problem?" I had more fire power than anyone in the entire county. I had all the modern communications. A small army of like armed men were at my call. Hell No, I did not have a problem!
Doing the math quickly in my head, ticket, towing, court costs, etc., I know his folks could ill afford that mountain of cost. What could I do that would solve his problem and mine.
I quickly opened his door, took him by his left arm, stood him in front of me at the back post of the car, out of sight of his friend. I instantly swung my right arm in a wide arch, hitting the bill of the ball cap he had on backwards, knocking it over the hood of the car. At the same time I slapped my thigh with my left hand, sounding for all the world like I had rattled the wise-ass kids brains.
The kid was so confused that he was not sure whether I had really popped him or not. The now terrified sidekick sat motionless. "Get back in that car, slow down, and mind your manners."
Just as I was about to walk back to my vehicle, I turned, went to the passenger's side and took out the passenger, stood him erect, then slapped his cap off.
"Mr. Officer, Sir, why did you do that?"
"I'll tell you why. You wanted me to. You would not have gotten two blocks down the road when you would have turned to your friend and said, 'I wish he had hit me like that!'"
Those two are grown with kids of their own now and I never did have a minute's trouble with them.