I was NOT the only person who immediately found it amusing when Tama and Benton County Sheriff’s deputies were involved in a chase last week with a stolen donut delivery van. Police officers and their imagined love for donuts are inextricably linked (with much thanks to Chief Wiggins on The Simpsons extending the stereotype).
However, I know police chases are serious business. Most of the time they’re dangerous, once in a while they’re fatal. So when I read the Tama County Attorney’s Office press release on the chase, my jaw hit the floor. “It is unknown whether” other responding officers “overheard radio communications regarding the chase or found the location by use of their olfactory senses,” the release says. Four paragraphs later, it says, “One deputy, when told that the owner of the truck and baked goods had offered the donuts to the officers, stated, ‘We got our man and we got the donuts.'”
Not surprisingly, Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera was not amused. “We do not condone this type of humor at the expense of the department’s integrity,” he wrote in a press release about the chase.
Obviously, I had to answer the question of whether the officers actually ate any donuts because that was REALLY what was on everyone’s minds. So I made it a secondary note in my story that they hadn’t. But I still had a reader from Waterloo send me an e-mail saying he was “disgusted” with my article.
“My father was one of the brave sheriff deputies that was involved in the high-speed chase yesterday in Benton and Tama Counties. I understand that the vehicle that was stolen was a donut truck but I was disgusted to read your news article written by Alicia Ebaugh that a joke was made about donuts being offered to the police officers and sheriff deputies that assisted in apprehending the driver of the vehicle. Instead of making a joke about a potentially deadly situation, I feel that maybe the article should focus on how professional the local area law enforcement was to safely and effectively apprehend this felon who was traveling though our state. Maybe the story should have focused on the citizens of Benton and Tama Counties that were mindful enough and alert enough to avoid several collisions with this felon by pulling over for the Law Enforcement officers. Instead you choose to make fun of such a professional and courageous position. I’m not sure if you understand how serious this situation was. PEOPLE COULD HAVE DIED! And it was the actions of the law enforcement officers that prevented that.” What do you think of my coverage of the chase?