Then on Thursday afternoon came this bulletin:
“BREAKING NEWS: MCP Arrests Cat Burglar.”
It included a mug shot of a black-and-white cat, and a photo of the feline peering out of a cruiser.
“Most of what we deal with is negative. It’s a nice change to do something funny and positive,” said Officer Janelle Smith.
It was her cat, Perry Jane.
The announcement was Officer Rebecca Innocenti’s idea. “I was just going home, and somehow ‘cat burglar’ came into my head,” Innocenti said.
Her own cat, Psycho, was the wrong animal, temperamentally, for the job. (Her husband had come up with the name, and for a while they would lie and call her Lucky when they took her to the vet to try to avoid profiling.)
Perry Jane did not resist, nor did she find the gag all that hysterical.
“She didn’t really like being woken up from her nap to be thrown in a police car,” Smith said. “She just meowed the whole time.”
Reaction to the punchy public information officers has been enthusiastic, though responders may be charged with malicious cat quipping.
“Does he get a PBJ for each of his nine lives,” asked one. (That’s Probation Before Judgment. And he’s actually a she. But you get the picture.)
The officers sometimes offer other lighthearted fare in a bid to attract more friends and followers, like a spring caption contest for a picture of the county’s 1942 pistol team. They had stubby ties and salad bowl hats along with their big revolvers. (“Keep it clean please!”)
Perry Jane was shown in the driver’s seat, which is totally not the proper protocol.
“We didn’t have handcuffs that fit four paws,” Innocenti said, “so she was free to roam the vehicle.”