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Atlanta Police School: Dipstick in Training

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Inspired in some part by Police Academy.

Takes place around the same time as the events of "Happy Birthday, General Lee."

The Balladeer's comments are in italic.

Friends, you're looking at the Atlanta Police School. Many a future lawman has walked onto this campus, including one Rosco P. Coltrane. Let's just say they're still cleaning up after he left.

Now, the school's motto, which you can tell by looking at that sign is "Duty, Courage, Honor, Respect." Each recruit is expected to uphold that motto. There are a few that fail to, but this story ain't about them.

Nope, your gonna see that this story is about another fellow that y'all may know. But he ain't arrived yet. But y'all stick around anyway.

Captain Dawson paced in his office, a stack of papers in his hand. A new batch of raw, unkempt, gullible recruits were set to start their training in a few days. Most of the recruits were easy to whip into shape; others were a bit more risky, thus harder to get rid of. Dawson often got those folks.

Dawson was an authorative type; he loved to be in control. He also had the occasional nasty streak. In fact, out of all the recruits that quit their police training, many left as a result of him. Dawson didn't care; he was there for the intent on turning some rowdy young adult into a future paragon of law enforcement.

Now, here he stood, once again looking over his list of new recruits.

"Hmmph. This one was assigned here by his probation officer," he sniffed. "L. Jenkins. Convicted of so many misdemeanors the judge gave him the option of this or jail. Looks like Jenkins made the wrong choice."

He tossed Jenkins' paper on his desk and stared at the next.

"S. Devitt. A female. Has aspirations of joining the state police. She's aiming a bit high. Gotta admire her spunk."

Dawson rifled through another recruit's profile, then another.

"B. Maxwell. Leadership type. This boy might be someone I need to keep my eye on. R. Fawcett. Another girl, crime victim but wants to help others. M. Cranshaw. A gun nut." Dawson sighed. "Just what I needed."

He was about to pick up the next recruit's profile when he heard a knock on the door. He walked over and opened it to discover his lackey, Royce.

"Royce," Dawson said disgustedly, "Don't you know that I have some papers to read?"

"Yeah," Royce replied, "but ya gotta hear this. The Commandant's going to make some statements at the beginning of training about the current crime wave. He wants you and the rest of the commanding officers to attend. I know ya ain't one to sit there and listen to him, but this could be your chance."

"Chance?" Dawson's tired look suddenly changed. "Royce, I gotta admit for being a dimbulb, you can make a man's day."

Royce smiled. "Ya mean that?"

"Yes. Now git!" Dawson snapped. Royce got the message and left. Dawson shut the door, grumbled something, and sat down at his desk to look at the remaining papers.

"The Commandant's going to take a lot of blame if his cops keep botching up with this crime wave. I'm gonna need someone so naiive and nitwitted he makes Gomer Pyle look like a Rhodes scholar."

Dawson sat there and looked at his papers. All of a sudden, one profile caught his attention.

"Small town boy. Parents involved in moonshine ring, got busted. Group of friends got busted too, got probation as long as their uncle gave up the activity. Honest, but sometimes completely oblivious to the situation at hand. Gets nervous around women." Dawson cringed. "Now why'd they put that in there? No, wait. I've got some future policewomen. This may turn out to be easier than I thought. I'd better get Royce on the phone.

Dawson picked up the phone, glancing at his fall guy.

"Mr. Strate, you're gonna have some fun here. A whole lot of fun."

Lookee there friends. It goes to prove you can't even leave Hazzard without bringin' trouble!

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Hazzard County. Legend has it nobody knows the population 'cause nobody let them count it. Hazzard has all sorts of people, some nice, some not-so nice. Those paths will converge later on, but for now friends, let's learn how the most unlikely person foiled Atlanta's biggest crime wave.


The bus driver breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a long trip, and the guy singing "Rocky Top" at the top of his lungs wasn't helping either. The driver didn't mind bluegrass, but he was a Georgia alum.

The bus was filled with people headed to the police school in Atlanta. Each group he had seen looked like they would be the end of law and order as he knew it. Somehow, most of the people in each group made it through the four-month program and began careers as cops.

This group was no exception.

"Y'all listen now. We're going to be in Hazzard in about five minutes. Can y'all act more civilized this time?" The driver paused, then glanced at the amateur singer in his mirror. "Especially you, Jenkins."

"What, ya don't enjoy my singin'?" Leroy Jenkins replied, once again unzipping his leather jacket in order to pull out his ponytail. Jenkins was on his way to the school, though not by his own choice. It was school or jail. The judge gave him one last chance.

"No, Leroy. If he didn't like your singin', you'd be on your way to jail right now," a red-haired woman sitting ahead of him commented dryly. The woman brushed a lock of hair from her forehead and continued to read her copy of Highway Patrol magazine. She had been enamored with the state police ever since junior high.

Leroy opened his mouth and was ready to give a retort, but by that time the driver hit the brakes. The bus had arrived at the Hazzard depot. As was tradition on the bus, the passengers continued doing what they had done the entire ride, but were ready to listen in on any conversation.

The driver opened the door. The recruits were ready, and got their wish.

"You make us proud now, OK?"

"Don't do anything Rosco did!"

The passengers stifled their laughs as they heard a distant voice yell, "COOTER! HUSH!"

"Don't forget to write. Before I forget...a little somethin' from Daisy."

"Thank ya, Uncle Jesse."

"You're welcome, and I ain't your Uncle Jesse."

With that, the final recruit stepped on board. Nobody paid much notice except the woman. She looked up long enough to take a peek at the new guy, then went back to her magazine.

"He looks like a decent enough fellow," she thought. "A little nervous, but hopefully friendly. There ain't that much room left though."

"This seat taken, ma'am?" The woman looked at the new recruit, leaning against the seat with a grin.

She took a look around, then remembered her earlier thought that bus space was running low. "No. Go ahead."

"Thank ya," he replied as he took his seat.

For awhile, the two sat there, trying to think of a good icebreaker.

"So," the woman said, "You live in Hazzard. You been there all your life?"

"Yeah," he replied, fidgeting with his hands. "Where are you from?"

"Covington. Nice little town. It's where I got inspired to be a smokey."

"Really? I joined up 'cause I figured it would be a decent way to repay the town." The man let out a small laugh. "How'd ya get inspired?"

The woman had to laugh too. "When I was in junior high, a trooper came to talk to us about the dangers of midnight racin.' He gave some of us rides in his car. I happened to be in it when he got a call sayin' there was a high speed chase. Well, he didn't have time to let me out before he went into hot pursuit. I knew right there I wanted to be a trooper."

"Dipsticks," Leroy, who had been listening to the conversation, muttered.

"Leroy, you hush!" the woman snapped. To her seat mate she responded, "Never mind Leroy. Dang jailbait."

The bus driver, who had heard that, had to smile.

The woman was about to go back to reading her magazine when she realized something.

"I'm sorry, I forgot to introduce myself," she said. "My name's Devitt. Shellyn Devitt."

She offered her hand to the Hazzard recruit.

"Shellyn," he replied as he shook her hand. "That's a mighty pretty name. Guess I gotta tell ya mine now. The name's Strate. Enos Strate."

"Well," Shellyn replied, "nice to meet ya, Enos. I think I'm going to enjoy seeing you around at school."

Lookee there, friends. Ain't often you see a fellow blush like that!

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