“I’m Glad It Got Done, and They Did a Really Good Job, and I’ve Got My Fence Back”

In January 2013, a suspect who was fleeing from the police knocked down a fence belonging to Dell Mitchell of Savannah, Georgia. In February 2009, someone had burned down her house at the same location. She said, “I had a regular fence [before the fire], so I put this up after I finally moved back home. I understand [the suspect who knocked down the fence] was in prison for a while, so he must have forgotten that this fence was up here, or he thought it was still that regular fence that he could jump over. He tackled that fence. This whole thing was just lying on the ground. He not only tackled it down, he stomped on some of the boards.” Fortunately for Ms. Mitchell, Savannah-Chatham police Major Richard Zapal and Sergeant Henry Brown offered to repair the fence themselves. Major Zapal said, “I thought about it and thought about what we could do to make it better. And so I said, ‘If I can go fix it, I will go fix it,’ so Sergeant Brown and I went, and we fixed it.” Major Zapal said that police officers do good deeds. On a cold night in January 2013, patrol officer Jason Pagliaro discovered a woman who had been locked out of a home that she had been housesitting; officer Pagliaro paid a locksmith to unlock a door so the woman could get back inside. Major Zapal said, “You know the suspect is not going to come and fix her fence, and he’s not going to pay for it. So what can be done? Well, we can just fix it. Not only are we saving the city money, we’re saving the taxpayers money because, obviously, that’s where tax money goes. It’s just what you do to help out.” Ms. Mitchell said, “This was a good deed for the police department because they do have a bad rap amongst some folks. But this was one of the good deeds about them. We need their help, and they’ve always been there for me, not just for this, but — they’ve just been there for me.” She added, “I just want to thank Sergeant Brown and [Major] Zapal because they didn’t have to do that themselves. I’m glad it got done, and they did a really good job, and I’ve got my fence back.”

Source: Corey Dickstein, “Police mend Savannah woman’s fence after suspect crashes through it.” Savannah Morning News (Georgia). 12 March 2013; updated 13 March 2014

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