The Cashion PD interior was screaming for an HGTV renovation. Informational messages spewed over the radio system, violently punching an otherwise quiet rural setting. And Joshua Farrety, Assistant Chief of Police, was preparing for our conversation by finding just the right angle on his chair: far enough back to provide relief from the bullet proof vest he sported, and forward enough to balance his frame.
Five minutes earlier, Farrety had been on the phone with his Chief who had encouraged him to speak with us.
“She said the experience would do me good,” he retorted.
His put-off tone was counterbalanced with a subtle grin that gave away his enjoyment about the opportunity to represent the agency. Assistant Chief Farrety was asked to speak on behalf of the department, and he wasn’t going to let them down.
The City of Cashion was the fifth stop on a six-town, one-day run, so by late in the afternoon Rachel and I were more than a little jocular (read: adolescent). Try as we may, however, Farrety stayed mostly on message. Even when we chided him about his “lady friend” buying the groceries he remained fairly regulated.
I’m not sure if speaking with a rural Oklahoma policeman was the impetus for “the adolescent” in us, but when I watched our video this past week, my respect for Farrety strengthened. He was the job.
He was the job…whether it was to:
- serve up their mission statement,
- volunteer for the local fire department in any spare time he mustered,
- or give it up to the reserve police officers across the state who enable towns like Cashion to stay covered when their budgets don’t meet the warm body demand it takes to keep their area safe.
When I think about the shoestring budgetary funding of local fire and police operations, I’m at the same time impressed in how they made ends meet, and infuriated at the salary levels provided to those who risk their lives every day.
I left our discussion that evening with a few thoughts running through my head. In no particular order, they are:
- I would imagine the Cashion PD doesn’t give a damn about their level of office decor;
- If I was ever in trouble, I’d feel just fine knowing Farrety was involved in some kind of police action to keep me safe; and,
- I’m incredibly sheltered in my job at the university.
Thanks, Farrety and company, for pulling over the man high on pot so he didn’t kill someone while driving. Thanks, specifically to Josh, for putting up with our interrogatory nature. And thanks, Chief Veronica Thomas, for letting him handle the discussion.
He was the job, and he did just fine.
Video clips from our conversation with Josh below. For more on our project, visit the “About” page on this website. The video ending was extended without visuals to highlight our featured artist, Sherree Chamberlain’s song: San Fran, from her album New Skin.
Cashion, Oklahoma is a small town on the boarder of Kingfisher and Logan counties.