Death Valley Days: Valley
Police Department, Summer 1990
It was difficult not to refer the Town Celebration
as Death Valley Days…
the City of Valley was platted in 1864 with the coming of the Union
Pacific Railroad, it was not incorporated as a City until 1890.
One of the Civic Leaders observed this date, and suggested that
it would be good and proper that the City of Valley have a town
celebration to mark the Centennial of its official birth! The celebration
was simply called, Valley Days, but it was difficult not
to refer the Town Celebration as Death Valley Days!
to admit, they did the celebration right! They had parades, a big
carnival, sport tournaments, a big ice cream social at the town’s
museum, special events at the local business, brass bands, a barbecue
and a beer garden.
from all the other local communities were invited to attend the
opening ceremonies and the parade. Even the Mayor from my old place
of employment, Arlington, Nebraska was there. The person who was
Mayor while I worked there no longer held office, but the office
was now occupied by a former City Councilwoman, whom I referred
to in another story as “Emily Litella.”
This person and I rarely saw eye to eye when I was Chief of Police
at Arlington, so it was no surprise to learn that while she was
seated on the Grand Stand near my current Mayor, she looked over
the top of her eye glasses toward where I was working traffic control
across the street, and commented, “How’s that
problem child getting along..?”
replied, “Randy Schulze? He’s one of the finest police
officers we’ve ever had!” (The Mayor himself told
me about that conversation…)
Beer Garden was set up very well. State Law had very specific requirements
regarding points of entry and exit, and to make certain that no
alcohol beverages could be passed outside of the beer garden premises.
The City Park had a large tennis court with room for two separate
playing courts, all contained inside a twelve foot cyclone fence.
At one end, of the courts, a large tent roof was set up to provide
shade during the day, and the other end had a stage set up for live
entertainment. Between the stage and the tent, were a dance floor,
and an area with tables and chairs. It was a pretty classy setup!
Law also mandated that some form of formal security had to be present
in the beer garden. To meet this need, one of us cops would come
off the street to pull a two hour turn working in the beer garden.
This wasn’t too bad, as everyone was happy and was enjoying
themselves. We might have to step in and advise a few good ‘ol
boys to settle down if they started getting rowdy, but we had no
fights or violence.
Saturday Evening while I was in the beer garden was after a big,
men’s softball tournament that had occurred during the day.
There were probably a couple hundred softball players from teams
all across the region drinking in the beer garden. The restrooms
were in a building located just outside the beer garden fence, and
I was standing near the gate to make certain no one was taking any
booze out of the premises. Eventually, this ball player works his
way to the gate with a big cup of beer. He appeared that he might
have had several big beers before he came this far, as it looked
like he was pretty drunk. As he got to the gate, I stopped him and
said, “Wait a second, partner. You can’t take your beer
out side of the fence…”
looked hard at me, and said, “I’m just going to the
“That’s cool! If you want, you can leave your beer here
on the table, I’ll watch it for you until you come back…”
eyes rolled around in their sockets, before he asked, “Can
I drink my beer before I go out the gate?”
ball player is holding his red Solo Cup with both hands like he
cradling the Holy Grail. He brings it to his lips, hold his head
back, and starts chugging his beer… About that time, one of
his team mates runs up from behind, and grabs the hem of the drunken
ball player’s shorts, pulling them down! This guy’s
still chugging away on his beer, standing in his t-shirt and jock
strap, when he finally notices a change in temperature down below…
While he’s looking around, trying to figure out why, one of
the women from his group comes running up to me laughing, and says,
“Officer! Are you going to arrest that guy for indecent exposure?!”
“I can’t. I just can’t! Lack of evidence!”
The whole crowd busted out in laughter!
drunk looks at me and says, “I think you might be a son-of-a-bitch!”
back, “Well, between you and me, I guess we’re both
“I’ll drink to THAT!” and finished off his beer.
had a good time…
Purple Sage Law Enforcement