(Before I go into my blog, if you are in the US, we will be having a test of the Emergency Alert System, all television stations, and radio stations will be participating. It will occur at 11 a.m. PST, so adjust for where you live. No "War of the Worlds" scenarios, please, this is just a test...)
Headed off to the Sheriff's Office to do my Ambassador bit today. I like to think of it as enabling coffee addicts. Let's just say that several of the people must have very little blood in their caffeine system, they are drinking coffee from the time they come in, until they leave. Some even show UP with coffee, and refill when I bring the coffee pot in! Anyway, we had a representative from Search and Rescue, then had Forest Patrol, and ended with Livestock Investigation.
The Search and Rescue (SAR) was fun, if for no other reason there was one of the 'kids' there. Why is this fun? Watching a gal stand at parade rest for an hour, and not so much as scratch her nose the whole time. (Our search and rescue is made up of volunteers from the high schools, age 14 to 21. They are rated one of the best SAR groups in the state, and it shows...) Lots of videos of the training. One of the trainers is a former marine, so it's not exactly sitting on one's tush eating bon bons. In fact, one of the videos shows the group sloshing through a culvert, and coming out about the consistency and color of cow plop. Others show them climbing walls, carrying a log (the deputy said they carry it about a mile), wake up time, which consisted of several deputies setting off M-80 type firecrackers outside the tents of the trainees. Let's just say, if they make it through, they are tough. There is training on tracking, using a compass, things like that. They are a great group.
The second class was Forest Patrol, which was held in the jail, in a meeting room. This was because the SWAT team was using the room for a meeting where we were. We told them we'd be happy to stay and watch, but they said no. They filed in with battering rams and shields. We went out to the jail.
This was interesting for yours truly, the doors open one, then it closes, then the next opens, so that if there was a problem, it is contained. What I didn't know, is that if I am next to the door, and it closes, it will continue to close, even if my tookus is in the way. I moved rather quickly, not wanting to be one with the wall...
I had to stay near the back of the group, to make sure that everyone got to the meeting room. What I didn't know, was that the inmates were in the kitchen, and had a good view of me. I was in no danger, but I haven't had so many wolf whistles, and comments for a long time. I put it on high ignore, and then the deputy in the kitchen walked in front of the window, and all comments and whistles stopped, thank goodness...
The Forest Patrol is the best smelling class... They bring samples of things that are cash crops they have to monitor, such as Fir, Cedar, Bear Grass, and Salal. It smells sorta like Christmas! Lots of pictures of marijuana grows, (no, no samples of that, that's for the class with the dogs), and the last two pictures were an accidental comedy. One showed a young elk, surrounded by opium poppies, and the next showed 4 kit foxes, all looking intently at the camera. One wag pipes up, elk eats poppies, the foxes just wait for it to get stoned so they can have lunch! The whole place cracked up!
The last was the Livestock Investigation Team. Sadly, this group was formed because there was a LOT of animal abuse in this area, especially with horses. It has improved, some, but with the economy, there are people that figure, well, the animal can fend for itself. This means that a woman with 116 horses on 12 acres gets a visit from the Sheriff's Office. This means that a man that had 6 dogs inside a single wide mobile, that never let them outside, got a visit. This means a woman with 40 dogs, who had so many that they were dying, and to keep them from stinking, she was storing them in the freezer, with her food, got a visit.
I always find it amazing that the deputies can do some of these jobs, I was just looking at pictures and was physically ill. They have to deal with going into places where it's not just filthy, it's so filthy they have to use breathing gear! But it does make me give them a lot of respect.
Next week is the final class, the graduation, if you will. The deputies really, really enjoy this one. I can't imagine why.
Oh, right, potluck. Food is involved, yep, that is always a draw.
I will be there, and last time I took photos of the graduates. I might do the same thing this time. Please, pray that the %$#@ camera works this time... Telling the Sheriff that none of the pictures came out after a half hour of photographing doesn't do well. For anyone.
But there will be food!