Small Town Police, Where Life Is Like A Box Of Turtles

Keep your shirt on

I snapped this image of a police chief’s badge and insignia while I was conducting the research for my book on police procedure. The model for the picture was Chief John Grote of the Yellow Springs Ohio Police Department.

The tiny village of Yellow Springs is nestled in Greene County, near Dayton and Springfield. The village is quaint and loaded with charm. The main street is home to an indie film theater, a silver shop, a stained glass shop, two independent book stores, and a single stop light. Further down the road is Young’s Dairy where you can enjoy homemade ice cream, pet the animals, and play a round of miniature golf.

A right turn off the main drag leads you to Antioch College, where Coretta Scott King received a BA in music and education. A left turn takes you past a smoke shop that features a huge array of bongs, pipes, incense, and tie-dyed clothing. A renowned artist lives in the neighborhood. So does comedian Dave Chappell.

Chief Grote, now retired, ran a very tight ship.


Chief John Grote

His department, although not large, is top of the line. The officers are very well trained and extremely dedicated. The department is small, which means officers sometimes do double and triple duty. In fact, here’s a video of Chief Grote engaged in an activity you won’t see many chiefs doing very often. Believe me, he’s a fine police officer. The city officials made a fine choice when they hired him to head their police department.

I had the opportunity to hang out with the “guys” in the YSPD for a few days, and while doing so I sat in on a online sting operation. An officer posed (online) as a 14 year old girl while adult men from across the country attempted to solicit sex (online and in meetings). One such meeting was arranged, and the suspect, a police officer from a nearby town, was apprehended and charged.


To nab sexual predators, a Yellow Springs officer visits an online chat-room as a 14-year-old girl. Within seconds he was bombarded with invitations to “connect” with adults. Many of the contacts included nude photos of adult men.

Yellow Springs has its share of “regular” crime—rapes, robberies, homicide, etc., but there seems to be an abnormal amount of abnormal calls answered by the patrol officers.

Each week, the village newspaper, as do many newspapers across the county, publishes the crime reports from the community. However, their crimes and the way the local paper reports them are quite a bit different. For example:

From The Best Of Yellow Springs Police Reports (the book):

– An outhouse at Ellis Pond was burned down Thursday of last week. 7/8/99

– A throw rug was set on fire Sunday while hanging on a tree at a West Center College Street residence, destroying the rug and charring a tree limb. 7/21/94

– A three-foot green alien valued at $10 was taken from a Livermore Street residence last Thursday or Friday. 10/24/0

– A man absconded with a box of turtles from the Trailside Museum Saturday. 5/15/97

– Police found that what sounded like someone trying to get into a Xenia Avenue residence at around 1:30 a.m. Thursday of last week was a neighbor dog attempting to visit the resident dog. 8/24/00

– A Whitehall Drive resident reported that someone had cut the blooms off the daffodils growing outside his home. 4/12/01

– A Marshall Street resident reported an abandoned black boys 10-speed bicycle. 11/21/02

– A …………. customer pumped $14 worth of gas Sunday, but only paid for $13. 4/19/01

– The right forearm, wrist and hand of a human skeleton were turned into the police station Friday. 8/10/9

– A concerned neighbor called police Sunday about an open front door to a South Walnut Street residence. When police arrived they closed the door. 2/21/02

– A mysterious “spill” on Fairfield Pike reported to police on Wednesday of last week, turned out to be rabbit food. 9/5/02

– A baggie containing white powder that was found near the Laundromat Monday and turned into police turned out to be detergent, not drugs. 10/26/00

– Suspicious looking mail reported Wednesday of last week by a local resident turned out to be a consumer survey. 11/15/01

– A West Davis Street resident had police catch a sick mouse in the backyard and wanted it tested for rabies. An officer contacted a local veterinarian and was told there were no active cases in the area. 8/2/01