Easy Pickins

"Easy Picken's"
by Dick Mauer

Somewhere around 1970 Fred Wesson was promoted to Deputy Chief and transferred to Buffalo Sector. Fred arrived in the dead of winter from some southern Sector and quickly established himself as an enthusiastic supervisor who would readily share his knowledge and wisdom with all employees with whom he came into contact. This took some getting used to as most of us young Agents had never talked with a Deputy Chief before. (And many had no desire to, because when you did, it usually meant you had a problem) Fred made himself available and was well liked.

One winter night, shortly after he arrived, I was working uniform alone when I got a radio call to return to Sector. Upon arrival I was greeted by the Deputy Chief who informed me that he wanted to ride along to see what we did in Buffalo. I loaded him up in the sedan and headed for the Greyhound Bus Depot. He told me that he would wait outside until I went in and then he would come in, sort of "incognito". UNOIMSAYIN?!!

The Buffalo Greyhound station was a large cavernous building in the downtown area that contained a Post House Restaurant, restrooms on an upper floor, and lots of benches. Aside from the traveling public the depot was a gathering place, on a nightly basis, for every creep in the city, for a long as possible on cold nights. As long as they behaved with the public, the Agents and the Buffalo Police would let the disaffected indigents get warm but you had to keep an eye on them or they would get out of hand. Fred was wearing a long blue overcoat, red mittens, and red earmuffs when he came into the depot and I could see the muggers eyeballing him right away as  easy picken's. I never asked the Chief if he was packing that night and I'm sure that Fred could have handled himself, but I spent most of my time in there that night keeping an eye on Fred. I didn't want the Chief to experience, on my watch, a situation he would have termed "a wooly booger".