Ancon is My Beat
by Louis J. Barbier (BHS 57’)

The following incident happen many years ago, when the CZ Police was in charge of protecting and ensuring the safety of all who lived in the old Canal Zone. Some say it never happen. But this is what Patrolman Harvey Thompson wrote in the report he filed that night. I just gleamed it off the Police Blotter the following morning.

It was about 8:30 PM and I had the Ancon District beat which covered most of Ancon to 4th of July Police Box up the hill to the Governor’s Mansion and back down past Gorgas Hospital. The tour of duty was split by two officers. One took 15 minute break every two hour at the box. Which was more like a little guard shack with phones hot coffee and a water fountain plus a small head. We were always in radio communications with the 4th of July Police Shack, Tivoli Box, Balboa Central and a roving black & white. We also had K-9 Patrols. Drugs were starting to become a problem. The dogs could sniff them out in quick time. But that is not the story tonight. This is how it was written....... I had just left Patrolman Pete Moreno who had completed a swing down past Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Pete, said, "All is quiet tonight. The laundry is running an extra shift to get ready for the big outdoor celebration 4th of July Picnic scheduled for next week.

Hey, Harvey, hope you left me some of that great Cafe Duran. I may need it tonight. You know the old lady has been giving me hell." And I replied, "How is that?" Pete answered, "Well, she is due any day now. And the Doc Burnside at Gorgas says it looks like twins! Oh, boy.....good thing I’m living in the Canal Zone, I could never afford the kids up in New York." I followed with, "How many will it be with these new additions." "Well with Marie it will be about 16 total. Of course with Julie my other squeeze it will be 20 kids in all." I then said as I head out the door," Pete, I just don’t know about you. I see you also got a little Taxi service on weekends to Tucumen to pick up all those stateside tourist......well, see-ya on the flip-side alligator."

I had done 4 years in the Army right out of Balboa High School. I had been in the Military Police and stationed in Germany with an Third Armor Division there. I had written my brother who was a cop on the CZ Police Force and he said for me to come back to the Zone after my hitch was up in the Army. I was ready. I had missed the Tropical balmy nights, the Diablo Clubhouse, and the gang at the Balboa Yacht Club. Besides the Canal Zone was like a paradise and it was my home. I didn’t know how much I would miss it until I was away with Uncle Sam.

As I proceeded up the hill pass Gorgas Hospital, my radio crackled with hospital security officer requires assistance with a disturbance in ER. I quickly punched the mike and said: 10-4, officer on the way. When I arrived on the scene a nurse was trying to direct a rather large woman (5 ft - 4 inches) and 275 lb.) with wild orange hair wearing a colorful Moo-Moo shift type dress and flip-flaps and dark blue sunglasses out of a restricted area. But the lady would have none of that. As I approached, I said, "My name is Harvey.....I think I can help you." I moved toward her several times but she kept side-stepping me. I did not want to dance with her all night or play like a bull and matador so I called for back-up. As this was happening she emptied the contents of her purse on the floor. She also threw a contents of a Panama Canal Commissary Shopping Bag on the floor and went screaming out into the parking lot. By this time the back-up from the Tivoli Guest House and a squad car that happen to be in the area drove up. We proceed to circle the lady and tried for containment and reason. Three burly Orderlies from the ER Ward also arrived on the scene. We started to move in and the close the circle. The lady at this point got a strange look and collapsed on the pavement. But unknown to us she was just playing possum. As one of the Gorgas Hospital ER Orderlies grabbed her she came alive like a hellcat. Her further screams brought some additional back-up in a form of EMS personnel who had just driven up. One, old Shorty took quick action and injected her with a dose of tranquilizer. She continued struggling as three orderlies sat on her. But Shorty Miguel noted for the quickest draw this side of the other side, hit her again with another injection. She now started to calm down. The ER Staff considered calling Corozal Mental Clinic, but since she was out cold....this could wait.

Three hours later wondering what had happen to the large lady in the ER, I dropped by to see. Well, she was up and laughing as she continued entertaining the nurses and staff with one joke after another. As I walked in, she asked, "If I was Harvey the nice policeman?" I answered, "Yes, Ma’am." And asked, "Are you Okay?" She then said, "I don’t know what came over me?" She then lifted up those puppy brown eyes and said, "I’m really sorry.....I get a little cranky when I don’t get enough sleep. Gee, I hope I didn’t hurt anybody."

I left her there thinking that interesting things can happen when you have the Ancon Beat. The moral of this story is that sleep is important. And it is not only for kids. Grownups need sleep too! And folks this is not only for professionals. You can do this at home. If you can’t get 40 winks , then try a few power naps during an 8 hour day.

Well that is all off the Police Blotter tonight. See-ya, until next time.