SLED’s antique helo

Sometimes on the edit page, we get into a bit of a rut. There are so many ways in which our inadequate state government is underfunded that for simplicity’s sake we tend to fall back on certain standbys when we gripe about our Legislature’s failure to set priorities in budgeting. When we cite a litany of neglect, we usually fall on:

  • Mental Health — A favorite example is how the lack of state resources for the mentally ill unnecessarily overcrowd our jails and hospital emergency rooms.
  • Prisons — We keep locking up more and more people, and providing less and less resources even to guard, much less rehabilitate, them.
  • Highways — We let them crumble, and we don’t enforce speed limits or other laws.
  • Schools — Too many districts, no follow-through on the promise to do more in early childhood, the neglect of the most troubled and impoverished rural districts, etc.

And that’s a nice overview, as far as it goes. It’s fine for just a representation in passing of the overall problem. We refer to such examples when we’re complaining about everything from poorly considered tax cuts to spending on things the state doesn’t need to spend on.

But we could write about other examples as well, and probably should more often. I was reminded of this by new SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd when he spoke to the Columbia Rotary yesterday. He talked about how everywhere he’s been in either state or federal government, he always seemed to arrive just as the budget screws were being applied.

The wiretaps he spoke of, and which were cited in the brief in today’s paper, were related to this. SLED has the equipment and the authority to do wiretaps in drug and gang investigations. But the people haven’t been trained in how to do it, so the equipment has sat there (to the delight of libertarians, no doubt, but not to those of us who love Big Brother).

But my favorite anecdote was when he was talking about the department’s Huey. When I heard that, I thought maybe I heard wrong: They’re still flying a Huey? But that wasn’t the half of it. This particular Huey was salvaged from the rice paddy it once crashed into in Vietnam. Now, it’s being flown by pilots who weren’t yet born then. Not long ago, SLED did some sort of joint thing with some folks from the Coast Guard, and they all wanted to see the Huey. They had heard about it, but found it hard to believe.


7 thoughts on “SLED’s antique helo

  1. Fred

    You are too kind to SLED. They receive a “pass” from most political judgment as people are afraid to criticize them since they have a great deal of power and they tend to have likeable, respectable chiefs.
    But insiders know they are widely inefficient, often lazy, and that the “old boy” system is still in place. Their internal control amount to nick picking at flies, while they swallow elephants.
    Lloyd can plead his case as he is a good lawyer, and as chief he is entitled to do so. But until common sense business reforms are put into place they should not be given an extra nickel. Like the rest of state government there is lots of talk about reform, but little of it actually is implemented in a meaningful fashion.

  2. Richard L. Wolfe

    ” but not for those of us who love Big Brother.” Thank you for being honest. That is all that I ask of the MSM. My only regret is that you didn’t put it on the front page in big, bold letters.

  3. Lee Muller

    I love the thump, thump, thump of the rotors. Ever since my first slick ride in 1964, I look up every time I here a Huey, and there are a few still flying.

  4. Lee Muller

    Maybe they should rename the newspaper to
    Voice of The State
    Village Voice of The State
    Coble Village Voice of The State

  5. Mike of Toronto, formerly of Columbia

    Well, Lee, at least you’ve ensured that the village won’t be lacking an idiot.

  6. Brad Warthen

    I was being way literary there, Richard. It’s kind of a running gag here on the blog, the whole "he loved Big Brother" thing.

    Consider it my little gift to the libertarians. Wiretapping doesn’t bother me (does your conscience bother you?). If the gummint wants to listen to my phone calls, fine — I’ll try to remember to say "hey." After all, Toby‘s listeners are just folks, too, as demonstrated in the brilliant recent German film, "The Lives of Others" ("Das Leben der Anderen").

  7. Lee Muller

    Brad, you are no threat to the establishment.
    But other people might harbor some reasonable expectation of privacy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *