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Story ID:10250
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Middleburgh New York USA
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By Fred Wickert

In the 1970’s I worked as Police Chief in the small town of Middleburgh, New York. The police department in Middleburgh was unusual in that the village had first one, and then later another female officer. Their primary responsibility was traffic control at school crossings.

One of these girls was married to a State Corrections Officer. The other lived right in the village. Her husband worked for a slaughter house and daily delivered meat to stores throughout the region. He was also a mute, meaning he was unable to talk. They had three boys who were a handful.

It did not happen very often but occasionally it was necessary to arrest and take in to custody, female personnel. That could be a very hairy situation. I spoke to the Mayor about it and I told him I might have to call in one of the girls and put her on duty if I arrested a female. He replied. “Okay, but if you do just be sure you call me and the Police Commissioner and let us know We don’t want any surprises.”

Of the two girls on the police force, one of them was always more readily available. Half the time she was to be found somewhere in the vicinity of the business district. She was usually around the laundromat or the Pizza Palace. She had a lot of laundry to do with her husband and three boys. The oldest one was in high school already.

Now Madelyn was not much to look at, and she was probably the last person you might expect to be wearing a police badge. She was about five foot three, and had a figure like a plank. She could not have weighed more than ninety pounds, if that. She wore glasses and had unruly hair.

One really hot fourth of July the town was very quiet. Half the town was at the Fair Grounds in Cobleskill, waiting for it to get dark so they could enjoy the fire work’s show. The other half were staying near an air conditioner somewhere.
I was walking my early evening rounds. I stopped in at the Pizza Palace for a piece of Stromboli and a cold drink. The only two people there were Madelyn and the wife of the proprietor. The wife of the proprietor suggested that she and Madelyn go swimming and cool off. Madelyn said she needed to find a swimming suit to do that. The wife of the proprietor, with just as straight a face as you could ask for said, “In your case, that’s no problem. Two band aides and a cork and you got it.”

I could not contain myself and I burst out laughing. Madelyn in turn, told me in no uncertain terms where I could go. The point is, it gives the reader a good idea of what kind of physical specimen Madelyn presented.

That fall, I had occasion to break up a fight on the street and I had to arrest and take in to custody a female. This woman was rough. She weighted around 165 lbs and she had more than her share of muscle. The charges were serious and it was not a situation where she could just be given an appearance ticket.

Before I could take her before a judge for arraignment, she had to be processed. She also had to be searched. She was a woman. I could not conduct that search. I called the Mayor. He was unavailable. I called the police commissioner and explained the situation and said I was going to have to call in one of the girls. Next, I called Madelyn. I told her what I had and she said she was going to be there in a few minutes.

I busied myself doing something else and within minutes I heard the door open and then Madelyn came in to the room. I told Madelyn I needed this woman searched and asked her to take her in the next room and do the honors. I told her if she needed any help to just yell and I was going to come running to her aide. Madelyn replied, “I don’t think I’ll need any help.”

I was astonished as to what happened next. I had removed the hand cuffs. Madelyn looked at the woman in custody and said, “We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way. Which is it going to be?” I looked away. I could not believe my ears. I just knew this woman that was so strong and so tough, who had at least seventy five pounds advantage on her, was going to beat the heck out of Madelyn before I could get in there to intervene.

Instead the woman who had been all bluster and bravado with me, said to Madelyn, “No, you won’t get any trouble from me. I’ll do whatever you say.” With her good cooperation, I thought Madelyn was a little more rough with the way she spoke to the woman than was needed, but it was her show so I stayed out of it. Madelyn stayed with it like a born trooper. We got the woman processed, got her before a judge who sent her to the County Jail. Madelyn handled her escort all the way until we left the woman at the county jail.

In the car on the way back to Middleburgh, I told Madelyn how impressed I was and how surprised I was. I told her I didn’t know she was so tough. She turned to me and said, “What the hell are you talking about? I was so scared I thought I was going to shit my pants!”

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