Friday, July 01, 2005

The Big White Wall - and a million dollar reward

After covering a press conference today at the Davidson County Sheriff's Department, a photog from News2 made a remark that made us both chuckle.

Sheriff's Office 1

It's the epitome of every law enforcement media briefing. From Winston-Salem to Burlington, in Davidson County and Down East(as in NC) and I'm guessing they can be found in every state across the land.

It's an invention that became popular sometime between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. It's the universal thing that can take a news photographer's breath when he or she walks into a room.

Sheriff's Office 6

The white dry erase board on the wall....behind the designated speaking area.

Who thinks this is a good idea? And why did you tell all the others?

We try our best to make our subjects look good in front of the wall, but between the compromising exposure and the reflection from the lights, it would be hard to make Jessica Simpson look good in front of one.(Don't check that Jessica Simpson link at work)

Sheriff's Office 5

So here's my plea for anyone that uses a room with a white dry erase board for press conferences. Please find a better place to host the cameras OR cover it with a nice logo'd curtain.

Sheriff's Office 4

The press conference that had been covering when we curiously wondered about the white monster was a check presentation to the Davidson County Sheriff's Department in the amount of $1,181,976.60, to be specific.

Sheriff's Office 3

The money was 80 percent of the amount confiscated in 5 traffic stops in Interstate 85 between September of 2003 and February of 2004. The stop in 2004 led to 2 convictions under a Patriot Act charge of attempting to smuggle money out of the United States.

The deputies found $1million dollars stashed in multiple secret compartments in the vehicle and when they questioned the driver and his passenger, their stories were not even close to the same.

Sheriff's Office 2

All of these traffic stops came before the current sheriff David Grice was appointed to the job, while interim sheriff Dallas Hedrick was filling in for suspended sheriff Gerald K. Hege, before Hege pled guilty to two felony obstruction charges in May of 2004.(you follow that?)

Hege started the Interstate Interdiction team and molded it after units in North and South Carolina and Georgia.

Dallas Hedrick kept the team alive, cutting back their hours of operation at first, but then sending them to intensive training in Charleston, SC where they picked up several awards for their work confiscating drugs and money.

Sheriff Grice, although a bit tight lipped about the group, has the team on the interstate full time. They have seized more than $1million since April.

They get to use the money for just about everything except for salaries and operations. Grice has immediate plans for radios, blue lights, a ventilation system to flush the drug smell out of the evidence room and a clothes dryer for the jail.

You can bet the taxpayers of Davidson County like this good monetary news.

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