To steal a line from my good friend, Warden John Ford, “Good often comes with the bad.” And in the wonderful career of law enforcement, we had to find ways to deal and cope with human tragedy.

Some of the more serious situations we handled were, of course, domestic violence incidents. When I first joined the Maine State Police, the incidents were dealt with more leniently than they are now.

Here is one domestic incident from years ago with which I was involved. It was a beautiful spring day and I was trying to enjoy an off day at home cleaning up after a long winter at Moosehead Lake. It was late in the afternoon when a terrified acquaintance came racing into my driveway.

“Mark, Mark. You’ve got to help me,” he yelled.

He was the husband of a local woman who held a prominent position in town. She was always very nice to me, but no one knows what goes on behind closed doors.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. I had no idea what could be wrong with this mild-mannered person who was so well thought of in Greenville.

“My wife is drunk,” he said. “And when she gets like that I just try and stay out of her way. But today she drank way too much. We were at home and she came up to me and took my glasses off my face and laid them on the counter. Then she got out the large meat cleaver and proceeded to chop my glasses into little pieces. All I could do was look at her while she was doing this. When she got done chopping them into little pieces, she looked at me and said, ‘You’re next!'”

“What did you do then?” I asked, wide-eyed.

“I ran like hell,” he said, still wound up like a top. “She chased me right out of the house. So I drove in town to find you.”

“Thanks,” I told him.

The man told me what his wife would be driving for a vehicle and that he was pretty sure she had chased him all the way to Greenville.

“I’m pretty sure she’s downtown right now, Mark,” he said. “This all happened about 10 minutes ago.”

“All right,” I said. “I’ve got to get my uniform on and I’ll head right in and see if I can find her.

“Do you want her arrested for what she did to you?” I asked as I hurried away, not really waiting for an answer.

I went inside my home, put on my uniform, jumped inside the cruiser and headed toward town. Luck was on my side that day. As soon as I got into town, one of the first cars I met was the woman for whom I was looking. I let her drive by me, then flipped around and made a traffic stop. As I approached, she seemed very nonchalant about being stopped.

Once I was beside her driver’s door and looked at her, there was no question in my mind that she was blitzed.

“What are you doing today, Dee?”

“I’m looking for that wimp of a husband of mine,” she said. “I’ve got some unfinished business with him.”

“Well, you’ve gone as far as you’re going today,” I said. “I’m arresting you for drunk driving.”

“You can’t do that!”

“Yes I can,” I said and opened the door and escorted her out before she attempted to drive away. I have to say that she could drive better than she could walk that day. But she was all done and going with me. I never let her know that her husband had turned her in and kept the situation focused on the arrest for operating under the influence.

On the way to jail I had to ask. “So why are you looking for your husband?”

“Because he’s a wimp and I am tired of being married to a wimp.”

“Any other reason?” I inquired.

“Nope.”

And that was that. I took her to jail, where she was booked. While there, I called her husband, told him I had arrested his wife for OUI and asked him if he wanted to press charges with regard to his glasses. He did not.

Their marriage ended in divorce, and her ex-husband later told me that he slept much better after that.

Just another day in the life.

Mark Nickerson is a retired Maine State Police Trooper. The 28-year veteran lives in Unity. The award-winning columnist may be reached at menick@uninet.net.