This article was originally printed in the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club monthly newsletter.

The Mayberry Deputy, by Bob Humphries

A co-worker wanted to show me a few acres of land he had found for a home site. It was a few miles out in the country. We decided it would be a good ride on our motorcycles to go there. Our ride had not taken us very far out of town until he mentioned to me to follow him off the road and down an incline. It was about 20 feet or more below the level of the highway when he stopped and said he needed to get rid of some coffee. Just ahead was an overpass to allow for drainage for rain water, but it was dry and off he went while I sat there on my motorcycle waiting. No sooner had he disappeared then I heard a voice with a strained, nervous, high pitched sound and I looked upward to the highway to see who was shouting from there.

He was a deputy sheriff standing by his patrol car holding his mike to use his outside speaker. His appearance and voice reminded me of the deputy in the T.V. series, Mayberry.

He continued, "Get up here, now, I mean right now!"

I found the scene amusing as I sat there for a few more moments and then my co-worker arrived on his motorcycle and stopped by me and he was mad as he listened to the shouting from the nervous deputy.

He said to me, "What is going on?"

We didn't look very menacing while riding in 1970 and re-entering motorcycling at that time. We could only afford 350 Hondas. Our attire for riding was helmets, sport shirts, blue jeans, and our footwear was state trooper boots which we wore on our jobs. But to that officer who seemed similar to Deputy Fife on the Andy Griffith T.V. show, we must have looked bad because he was quivering with fear. Since my co-worker was loosing his temper, I suggested he should stay quiet and let me handle it, and I did not want the deputy to know we were police officers because I was curious to see what the deputy would do.

We rode up the incline to the deputy at a good clip of speed. I stopped close to the deputy, but my riding partner didn't stop until his bike's front wheel was between the deputy's legs. He was glaring straight into his face and was close to him as he leaned over the handlebars and said, "What can we do for you deputy?"

Shaking he said, "Let me see your driver's license."

"Okay," I answered and as I handled mine over to him, I said to Terry, my co-worker, "Give him your driver's license." Then I asked the deputy, "What do you have on your mind?"

He answered, "We have people stealing vehicles and stripping them."

I responded, "Do you see any vehicles here and us stripping them?"

"Well, no ... but the man who owns that pasture has trouble with trespassers and he has asked us to check on that."

"Well, did you see us in that pasture?"

"Well, no," he answered.

"The fact is deputy, we are on public property, highway rights of way and off the road and not violating a law, and since you have no legal reason to contact us, you thought it would be okay to harass a couple of guys on motorcycles. You are wasting our time and yours too."

Then I snatched our driver's licenses from his hand and we rode away. As I looked back in my mirror he was still just standing there.

We checked out the property which was of interest to Terry, but he was still fuming and said he was going to the Sheriff's office right now and file a formal complaint on the deputy. I said, "Let it go, he will be on our turf someday, what goes around comes around."

It did no good and he rode off to make his complaint. Later when we were on the job he told me he had learned that the deputy was on probation for having so many complaints from citizens, and his complaint added to other would probably cause his dismissal.

As personnel officer, Terry handled applicants who came in to discuss law enforcement jobs as I did before him. On this given day, Terry was teaching a class in the academy, a part of the same building. I was called by the receptionist who said she had an applicant for state trooper and could I see him since Terry was not available. I answered yes and and I would come to the lobby to get him. As I approached him and asked him for his application his name indicated he was the former deputy.

As I took him to my office he did not recognize me in my uniform and I did not remind him, but only said I was a personnel officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety and had him take a chair at my desk while I reviewed his application.

Then I proceeded. "I see by this you were a deputy. What caused you to leave that job?"

"Oh, I just wanted a change."

"Did you have a good work history in that job and no complaints?"

"Yes, I had a good record and no complaints."

"We will check on that because we insist that our officers have a good reputation, do you want to reconsider your response?"

By that time he had noticed motorcycle pictures under the glass top of my desk, did a double take at my face, and looked back at the photos, then turned pale, and started to stand up to leave.

I said, "Sit back down, I think you need to talk to another officer."

Much to my surprise he had not left after I brought Terry out of the class room. I had explained who I had in my office. Terry stood for a while giving him the "steely-eyed stare" and said, "Come with me to my office."

Time passed and for some reason this ex-deputy could not get another law enforcement job. The last I heard he had gone back into the Army as a M.P. "Every dog has his day."

Return to previous page