Law and (Dis)Order

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After I talked to the superintendent at the post office, I called my attorney to report what had happened. He told me to call the police and let them deal with Dick and his shenanigans.

The next morning, as soon as Ashley walked out of the door for school, I dialed the non-emergency phone number for our local sheriff’s office. Not knowing what to expect, and with much trepidation, I told the officer on the other end of the phone about my mail fiasco.

He asked me what I wanted to do about it. What did I want to do about it??? What was that all about?

I realized that this incident wasn’t a life or death situation. And I also knew that this wasn’t a major crime.

*That’s why I called the non-emergency number instead of 911.

But for crying out loud, I didn’t call the police looking for a sympathetic shoulder to cry on or to shoot the breeze about my divorce and the pain in the neck I was unfortunately still married to.

Mail tampering was a federal offense and I was simply following up on the directive given by two respectable sources. I’m sure I wasn’t the first and I definitely wouldn’t be the last to have this happen to. But if this officer wanted my advice on how to proceed, I would have gladly suggested that they arrest Dick and hold him without bond until further notice.

Instead, I said that I wanted to file a police report. We then discussed where this should take place. For several reasons I didn’t want the police showing up at my home. If a squad car pulled up in my driveway, all the yentas in my neighborhood would have been outside in a split second. This wasn’t something I wanted everyone else to know about. Nor did I want to air out my dirty laundry on the street. Also, I didn’t want to take the chance that the police would show up if Dick were still at home. That wouldn’t have been a pleasant scene. So we decided that a safe place to meet would be at the Seven-Eleven located in the strip mall by my house.

I parked my car directly in front of the store and waited for the police to arrive. After about 20 minutes, a squad car finally pulled up next to mine. The officer inside motioned to me and we both got out of our vehicles.

While I understood that this wasn’t an emergency, I thought he would have shown up much quicker than he did.  As I opened the door to exit my auto, I glanced around to make sure that no one I knew was in the vicinity. That would have been totally embarrassing and humiliating. Thankfully, no one looked familiar.

Being the “goody two shoes” that I was, I was anxious about the prospect of speaking with a law official. Within seconds, it became obvious that I had nothing to be nervous about. (Not that I wanted to make a habit of this!)

The first thing the deputy asked me was what I had called for. I wondered to myself, Didn’t he get a head’s up about what this was about or was he just in the neighborhood looking for a convenience store to stop by to grab a quick cup of coffee and a pastry? I certainly didn’t think it should have been a surprise to him. I explained that Dick and I were going through a bitter, ugly, nasty divorce; we were still living in the same house together; he had opened Ashley’s and my mail; he took one of Ashley’s letters without her even seeing the contents of it; and he opened and resealed my credit card bill. Judging by the expression on his face, it was apparent that this man wasn’t the least bit concerned.

I then produced the tampered envelopes. He looked them over briefly and quickly informed me that he had no way of knowing if Dick did that or not. The gentleman then proceeded to tell me that for all he knew, I could have done this myself and blamed my husband. I looked at him with total disbelief and replied that while I understood his point that he didn’t actually witness these occurrences, how was I supposed to prove that this really happened? He told me that even if I called the police while something was going on, unless they were there to witness the event, it was Dick’s word against mine. While I knew he was absolutely correct, I was starting to wonder if there really was any justice in this world…and if there was…when would I start seeing it.

The officer then asked me when I filed for divorce. I told him the date was July 15, 2009. He then proceeded to tell me that I should move out of my house and get a job until my divorce was finalized. (I’ve been discovering that when it came to divorce, just like pregnancy, everyone was an expert and had an opinion on what needed to be done.) I told him that my daughter and I were not leaving the house. It wasn’t an option at that time.

The deputy then told me that he didn’t think this would be the last time his office would be hearing from me. He felt  that as time went on, I would be calling and complaining of other things. Wasn’t he a ray of sunshine?   I loved his optimism! The last thing I wanted to consider while standing outside my neighborhood convenience store was what Dick might be scheming to do to me in the future.

All I could do at that point was take it one day at a time. However the officer’s next suggestion made more sense to me. He told me to go to the post office and get a P.O. Box in Ashley’s and my names. That way, Dick wouldn’t be able to go through our mail. Now that was a recommendation I could live with.

With that, he told me he would write-up a brief one paragraph incident report.

We then parted ways.

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