My time on the Rome Police Department, I spent a lot of time doing things that I would never do in life. One of those things was chasing a big brown bear.
Chasing a big brown bear is not my idea of having fun. It was something that happens, and when you are a policeman it all goes with a days work. Anything that was a danger to the citizens of Rome was my concern. A 200 pound bear is definitely a threat to the safety of Rome citizens.
The call came in that a bear was in the backyard of a house on Smith Street in North Rome. I decided to ride up to Smith Street to see what was happening. When I got there the other officers were out talking to the people who had called in about the bear.
I looked around the house and down into a wooded area. I couldn’t see any bear. I listened to the lady tell the officer how big it was and how it was in her garbage can. I smiled to myself and got back in the car. I thought, “What’s next, a monster like Godzilla or little green men?”
The rest of the shift went by without any more bear sightings. When we were checking out to go home the subject was the bear.
I listened and smiled to myself.
Ridiculous. There were no bears in the city limits of Rome.
I was soon to see just how wrong I was. I went home, forgot about the bear, and had a good night’s sleep.
I walked into the station the next morning with everyone on the night shift talking about the bear. I listened, not putting much stock in the bear talk. With the shift up and running, the bear calls started to come in.
It seemed that one of the county police officers had seen the bear on Smith Street. I went up to Smith Street and talked to the county policeman. I listened to him and when he got though telling me about the bear I knew that we had us a big problem.
I have never been much of a hunter. The biggest thing that I had ever killed was back in the hard days: a rabbit or squirrel. We killed them because times were hard and that was a source of food. To say that I was going bear hunting didn’t have a good ring to it.
I got back into the patrol car and began to cruise out the area. I eased along, hoping that someone else would find the bear instead of me. I remembered what one of my partners said to me: “If it happens, you will be in the middle of it because you have nose trouble.” Now I wonder what he meant by that?
I pulled up at the corner of Smith and Dwinell Street and I cut off the motor in order to hear the bear if it came my way. It was quiet for the time of day. I knew that the people in the area had heard about the bear and was staying inside.
What I heard did not sound like a bear — it was the loudest scream that I have ever heard. I stepped outside of the car and waited to see if it happened again. Nothing, the area was as quiet as it could be. I got back in the patrol car and began to ease down Dwinell Street. Then I heard a clanging of garbage cans.
I stopped the car and began to look the area over. A house sat in a wooded area where the noise came from. I got out and walked over and looked down the bank to the back of the house. I stopped dead in my tracks, for what I saw I was not prepared for.
Standing up on his back feet with his head stuck inside a garbage can was a bear. This was a big bear. The way he was standing at that time he looked to be 10 feet tall. He wasn’t 10 feet, but a good 6 feet tall when standing upright.
He withdrew his head from the garbage can and looked at me. I stood frozen, looking back at him. There was about 50 feet between us. It was downhill to him but I knew that before he could get to me I would be back inside the patrol car. He looked at me a few minutes and decided that I was no threat to him. He put his head back in the garbage can.
With a good view, I called headquarters to let them know I had found the bear.
With a call in to Wildlife I moved my patrol car into a position to try to hem it up. I stood by the side of the car and watched him as he ate.
To be continued ...