Incorruptible Cop

This story is a side story set during the end of “True Friends And Family” and was meant to be the first of several short stories about the family’s impact on the city. That was the idea, instead it ended up being an introduction to two central characters that have their own focus and whose story in the 8th book that directly ties into this story

The Incorruptible Cop
Kennedy is my best friend, confidant, and neighbor. She is truly an amazing person. I met her when we were in college and have been close since that first fateful meeting in class. We were assigned as partners for a class project and worked out well together to the point that we knew what each other was thinking before we said anything.

She wasn’t like any other girl I ever knew. She wasn’t interested in sex, only getting things done. Not that she didn’t have a wandering eye, she simply didn’t let sexual feelings hinder her work. It was through this that she was able to get my grades up to making the dean’s list and earned her praise.

After graduation we drifted apart but stayed in touch. I went to the military and eventually the police academy while she took a job in the state’s law library after finishing law school. She ended up moving next to me by pure coincidence and almost fainted when she was introduced to me by a mutual neighbor. He just laughed and said “apparently the fates are smiling on you two.”

Over time we grew to be inseparable. She and I often ate at each other’s apartment and enjoyed walks through the neighborhood. She told me about the work she did helping hapless politicians and lawyers research obscure laws and cases while I told her about some of the inner workings of our police department.

The neighbors always assumed we were dating or related, but in truth we were just good friends. We didn’t have much family, I only had my parents and they weren’t in the best of health in recent years and I knew they wouldn’t survive much longer. She was all alone, having had problems with her family and moving clear across the country to get away from her past. I never dug into it, and I didn’t care. Unless she murdered someone or was wanted for a crime her past was her own business and why she kept it to herself was her business and hers alone. Some things are best left in the past.

Having been on the police force for a decade she persuaded me to take the sergeant’s exam and earn a promotion. I was reluctant as there were more qualified people who had more experience but she believed in me. She helped me study for the exam for months and when I passed with the highest marks in the region guaranteeing I would be promoted immediately she treated me to dinner to celebrate.

This was a year ago. That all changed after the brutal attack on Jaimie Finn. I was supposed to be assigned as the detail officer on behalf of the department and the city’s summer jobs program but at the last minute the day before the chief and our union president circulated joint memos stating we were banned from serving the detail. This was outrageous, those kids were going to be sitting ducks for a whole load of unsavory characters especially Jaimie’s group!

I immediately sought out the lieutenant and then the captain for clarification only to be told to shut up and don’t disclose the order to anyone or face punishment. Something was really off, and I asked that they state that in writing as I would not heed unless I was given a direct order in writing.

They told me that if I asked anything further they’d make it so I was terminated for failure to follow a superior officer’s orders. I challenged them to try, and immediately was suspended pending a hearing. I demanded to speak with my union representative and was told again that this wasn’t going to happen. I did manage to get through to my representative and was told the same thing. I clammed up and withdrew stating that I will be seeking legal counsel and if need be I’d sue to have it overturned with restitution.

I was on my way home when I heard the news about Jaimie through the cop grapevine. It made sense now, she was targeted by the chief for what she had done to the city. I tried to call Melanie Lopez to see if I could get a meeting with her and Jaimie’s parents, they would be very interested in seeing the memos and hearing about the shenanigans going on with the department, especially Valerie Finn- Jaimie’s mother and a keen legal eagle.

I tried to slink home without anyone noticing but Kennedy saw right through my attempt when she spotted me. She knew something happened and I couldn’t hold back my grief and sadness and fear. She listened to everything I said and immediately called a trusted friend from work who would be extremely interested to hear what was going on. I didn’t ask who the person was, I only asked that if this person was able to do something that they do it quickly because a little girl’s life was impacted due to this.

Melanie called me back. She was bringing her husband and Jaimie’s aunts to talk. John and Valerie Finn were preoccupied and I completely understood why. I gave them the address and within minutes they were ringing my doorbell.

Dan Lopez listened to the story and nearly burst a blood vessel in his forehead. He was red with rage while his wife and the Finn ladies were speechless. I asked that Valerie be shown the memos, giving each of them copies to ensure that at least one made it to the Finns in case they were stopped by the chief’s toadies en route home. They may not mess directly with the Finns but there was little to stop them from screwing around with Valerie and John’s other family members.

While I was talking with the Finns and Lopezes Kennedy received a phone call from her friend. I was going to be visited within minutes by several state troopers and a lawyer from the attorney general’s office. Melanie immediately asked “did Christian order the investigation or did you call in a favor?”

Kennedy went white as she said that. Kennedy mumbled a simply “both, he called the Attorney General just after I called her. She told him that we had the memos and that someone tried to do something about the problem before something happened. They both agreed that something was going on that was beyond simple assault and robbery and that Willie needed to speak with them fast.”

It made sense now. Kennedy knew the most powerful lawyer in the state on a personal level through her research role and it was a barely hidden fact that the Finns were friends with the governor. I knew they were friendly because Jaimie told me herself that she knew him and she is the one person whom you can believe ever word as the truth. She had the most powerful people in the state behind her and we had the ammunition to have them bring down those responsible for what happened to Jaimie.

A knock at the door got me back to normal and at the door was three men dressing in business suits with two sporting close shaved heads, the telltale sign of Massachusetts State Police detectives. The one who did the actual knocking showed me his identification and the other two showed me their badges. They were who Kennedy was expecting, addressing her warmly as they saw her.

They immediately took a seat and let me explain what had happened. I showed them the memos and the notice of suspension for insubordination for questioning an order from superior officers. I showed the union’s response which got the men laughing, bringing smiles to their faces. The only words uttered were “illegal” and “nailed them.”

I didn’t think it was funny but they proudly stated “you just sealed their fates. You just showed collusion between the brass and the union. You have illegal orders by the chief and brass, criminal threats for disclosure despite an obligation to do so, suspending you without just cause for following proper procedure when questioning an ambiguous order, plus you gave us just cause to apply for a search warrant to show criminal conspiracy among them. Your act of defiance just helped bring justice to that young lady and may have saved the department from implosion.”

I shook my head in shame stating “it came at too high of a cost. She could have died. Someone should have done something sooner to prevent it”

Karen and Leslie Finn got up and knelt before me and proudly said “you shouldn’t beat yourself up, she would not be pleased with you if you did. She wants change and you enabled it. Through your actions you have seen to it that there will be changes in the department starting from the top down.”

A knock on the door got us to attention. There was no reason anybody should be visiting at this or any time, I had few friends and no family anymore since my parents died a few months before. I ushered my guests to the kitchen and told them to listen in and watch the conversation, I felt they would need to hear and see what was about to transpire as it would make their case stronger.

I looked through the peephole and knew it was trouble. Two “friends” from the department are paying me a visit. I was the only one to voice concern and my being friendly with the Finns particularly Jaimie is well known. This was not a social visit, this was an attempt to intimidate me into not talking.

I opened the door and was pushed aside. The two grabbed me and laid several punches into my gut before I could react. The one doing the punching stated he had a message from the brass, if I told anyone about the memos I’d end up with a bullet in the head. There was nothing I could do about it either, nobody would believe me and it was my word against the brass’s word

I told them “what memos? You mean the ones the chief, captains, and lieutenants all signed? What makes you think I still have those?”

The thug holding me blurted out “those are the ones. Tell anyone about them and you won’t live to see another day. You were told to back off and this is your only warning.”

I added “what about the memo from the union chief? Should I tell anyone about that? He has a copy of my complaint on him.”

Both blurted out “tell anyone about that and you are doubly dead.” One gave me another punch and added “we may take this out on your girlfriend as well. You wouldn’t want anyone hurt because you chose to be a hero.” I had to bite my tongue hard to prevent myself from fighting back, they threatened Kennedy!

With that the troopers entered the room with guns drawn and badges out. The two thugs told them “what are you doing? You can’t arrest us, we are cops!”

The two troopers laughed and stated “you are under arrest for assault, threatening material witnesses, criminal threats, and criminal conspiracy. Everything you said has been recorded and witnessed by the three of us as well as an assistant attorney general investigating the case.”

Both swore heavily as they were taken away by a third state trooper in a marked cruiser. They were taken to the Lower Basin barracks and placed into custody with limited visitation. Their visitor list was limited to a lawyer vetted by the attorney general’s office as it was feared they would be intimidated or further conspire with their cohorts through their union lawyer or a private lawyer.

Leslie and Karen Finn and the Lopezess were asked to relay a message to their brother and sister-in-law that the governor was going to be very interested in the memos and was going to ensure Jaimie’s friends and coworkers were safe. They left with their gratitude and stated they would make things right for me even if they had to call in every favor they were owed.

With my other guests gone I was in real danger. That little intrusion by my so-called brother officers was just the warning, once word got out that their attempt failed after they didn’t check back in with their handler I’d be visited by worse thugs and they would make it look like a typical home invasion gone bad. Kennedy was in worse trouble, she didn’t have the innate ability to fight back or the experience to tell when danger was looming. She may have had a rough childhood but that was nothing compared with fighting back against experienced thugs.

Our assistant attorney general friend had a simple solution for Kennedy’s problem, he was going to call in a favor from a friend. He asked that Kennedy and I pack some clothes for two weeks and get ready for a trip out to the western part of the state. I knew exactly where we were going, the one place that was heavily guarded and out or reach of the locals. I asked sharply “Westover?”

He nodded then asked “do you know someone there?” I gave a sly smile and showed him a business card. He laughed and added “then you saved me a favor, he was exactly who I was going to ask. He is known and trusted by our office for handling delicate witnesses who need a few days to decompress while situations die down.”

I called my friend Peter to ask if he could do me a solid and allow Kennedy and I to stay for a couple of weeks. He didn’t ask why, knowing I wouldn’t ask something so big unless it was important. He agreed happily and told me “it’ll be like old times.”

Kennedy came back with her suitcase and documents. I put my documents into my overnight bag and gave copies to the lawyer and troopers stating “I’m keeping the originals, I am going to pass these on to a trusted lawyer who will keep them safe and require a lot of legal hoops to be jumped through to show without my consent. It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s just that I don’t trust the system yet.”

We set off for Westover Air Reserve Base and two hours later after losing a tail thanks to some friendly troopers met Peter at the main gate. He had us cleared and once inside I told him everything. He wrote down some notes then made a phone call which got Kennedy concerned but made me smile. She was unsure but I told her simply “this will be something good. They train for what we are bringing to them.”

Five minutes later he stated to Kennedy “I have informed my fellow base Security Forces officers that you are here and why. The officer in charge has made the base commander aware of your presence and verified with the state police your reason for being here. The commander is eager to assist especially a fellow member of law enforcement and one who is a veteran who saved several of our colleagues in battle and who trained alongside his best officer.”

I groaned at that statement about himself. Kennedy looked at me funny, she never knew I was overseas and saw action. She knew I was in the Army but never knew I saw action. Peter nodded at the revelation, adding “he served two tours before getting out, he was sorely missed by his unit.”

Peter started again once the reality set in. “You are staying with me and access to this part of the base will be limited to only those who are valid residents. Nobody regardless of clearance is allowed inside the perimeter and anyone caught inside will be arrested with prejudice. They are taking this seriously, the news of why it happened angered a lot of us in law enforcement especially those with kids. You are under our protection and none of those goons and scumbags from Winnisimmet will get at you here.”

Kennedy relaxed as we were driven to Peter’s quarters. He told Kennedy that we had been friends for years and that while we were training I once knocked out two thugs trying to hassle him for money while he was too drunk to fight back. Seeing as I never drink she was surprised but nodded in approval. She simply said “he sure knows how you make friends.”

It was dinnertime and we sat down around the table while the TV blared. Kennedy and I dropped our forks when they reported about the attack on Jaimie. Peter shook his head in disgust then muttered a quiet “I hope they beat the snot out of those scumbags.”

He tried to ask why they targeted her but before Kennedy could answer I told the truth “she’s a special kid who loves to help anyone in need and who won over the hearts and minds of anyone who is near her. She is transgender but is simply an angel who makes all others pale in comparison to her good deeds and nature.”

Kennedy shook her head and stated “that’s not the real reason. She may be transgender and won over most of the city after getting people to contribute to the program along with donating thousands of dollars herself but that isn’t the reason for the attack. Something else was.”

I was taken aback. I assumed it was because Jaimie organized the money to pay for the jobs program but Kennedy told us the truth “he is part owner of the contractor that cleans the city streets. Jaimie’s program cuts into their profits as they can’t clean certain streets due to them already being cleaned by the kids and this year they are going to go under because they are able to do every street in the city each week for a fraction of the cost they charge the city. The city councilor who facilitated the contract is also an owner and is the reason the chief got his job in the first place. They are trying to kill the program to keep the company afloat.”

Peter nodded his head in agreement, adding “it explains the whole situation a lot more than a grudge against that little girl. It was meant to scare the families and cause the removal of the kids from the streets. You were targeted because you had the evidence that they were going to do something and Kennedy had the means to get the investigation to people the city couldn’t influence if she didn’t already have the evidence. This is starting to look like the Winnisimmet of the 80s all over again, only this time they did what the scumbags back then never would do- they went after a kid.”

I just nodded in agreement then pointed at the TV which had the governor stating his intentions for the next day regarding the kids and the jobs program. I laughed as he said other cities and towns, the sheriffs Suffolk County and of neighboring counties, and the state level police agencies were all contributing volunteers to oversee the safety of the children. They were going to be protected.

I had to explain to Peter what that was all about “Jaimie Finn is a friend of the governor and he is outraged to the point of action. I know the Finns would never ask anything like that so he is doing this out of the goodness of his heart and concern for the kids. This is him at his finest, the chief pissed off the wrong person.”

The next morning the news was all over Winnisimmet showing a dozen different city and town cruisers parked in major points in the city with officers and deputies standing guard over the kids. I recognized some of Jaimie’s friends working and smiled knowing Jaimie would never let them stop working. I even pointed out Michael Finn and Jaimie’s boyfriend Richard Samuels to Peter, who grinned at the determined faces they had on.

During lunch we went to the gun range and were introduced to Peter’s detachment. All of the others were locals doing their yearly two week training requirement and were pissed off at what was going on in my hometown. Word got around fast about the attack and attempted intimidation and were ready to lock down the area in seconds. We were just what they needed, we were VIPs in need of protection and their job was to protect the base’s assets which now included us. We were the perfect training aid for them and the detachment's commanding officer was pleased to have the opportunity to utilize their training in an actual scenario especially for one of their own.

Peter had a big smirk when he added that as this was a military base thus federal property anyone who tries to enter under false pretenses or was non where they should be or who tried anything against us were going to face a lengthy prison term and given that they were doing so to intimidate witnesses the feds were going to have a field day with them.

I handed over a list of names of people to look out for, trying to remember who would be threats to us and who wasn’t. Peter went one better and grinned as he produced both the roster of active and retired Winnisimmet Police officers as well as their known family members. Anyone on that list would be challenged at the gate and unless they had a valid reason for coming to the base they would be turned away with a warning.

I added “they will try to use aliases and that every entrance should be tacked off against an exit as they may enter but not leave hoping that they could do their dirty work at night and slip away before anyone noticed they were still there. If possible their vehicles should be searched so that nobody is being smuggled inside to avoid the checklists.”

Peter nodded and showed they expected such an action then said they had a surprise in store but couldn’t tell me. I whispered to Kennedy “these thugs will be up against overwhelming force before they get a chance to open a window, inside the house Peter doesn’t have to hold back and they would be in for a nasty surprise.” Peter chuckled knowing I had pegged his response exactly.

The next few days were easy for us. The crew were out and about but blended into the background and we were able to go about the base easily with Peter as our escort. We met with liaisons from both the Attorney General’s office who confirmed what Kennedy had said. The governor paid the base a visit under the auspices of something involving the Air Force’s assets in the state but set aside time to talk with Kennedy and I in a side room under guard from Peter’s men.

Governor James listened intently to Kennedy’s findings then gave the two of us the news that he was going to personally attend the next city council meeting and present the evidence alongside Valerie Finn. I told him bluntly that he needed to ensure that whatever police protection he had was loyal to the city not the chief and brass. I handed over names of people I knew for a fact were trustworthy and who would work with Louis Reagan to set up his sting.

Kennedy asked what I meant, Governor James pointed out that Louis is the one person on the council who is incorruptible and if he vetted the officers they would be assigned as his security detail alongside the state police troopers normally assigned. She figured out why and nodded in agreement.

Before he left Governor James asked an odd question “when Chief Benson is removed, who should take over the department?” I had to ponder a second then said “we need someone from outside the city, someone who knows the ins and outs of local law enforcement in Massachusetts but has spent time away from the city itself. I would recommend a retired or about to retire state police lieutenant or captain, one who spent time out in the Springfield area or down in Buzzard’s Bay. Anyone closer than Foxborough, Framingham, or Andover would have had too much incidental contact with our department.”

He nodded in complete agreement and added “I know just the people for the job and will put their names to the council when the chief is exposed. Just keep yourself safe and keep a close eye on Kennedy, she is just as valuable to the state as you are. You two made a lot of friends and allies this week.”

When Peter came back in he told us the governor had a big smirk on his face and whispered something about “finding the right person.” I told him about the query which he seemed to put together easily. Kennedy gave him a nod as well which left me wondering what they were really thinking.

Monday evening we watched the online feed of the city council meeting. It was typical municipal government boredom until the open discussion period where the gloves came off. Peter and those off duty were watching it in awe as they saw just who we were helping out.

Valerie Finn ripped into the chief with such passion it was almost terrifying. Governor James then went at the chief with such fury it was amazing he didn’t have flames shooting out of his mouth and smoke out of his ears. The group was on the verge of laughter as it got so bad for the chief. This was going to make the news tonight and tomorrow morning.

Kennedy pointed out the corrupt councilor who just so happened to stop the meeting to have a quick word with the chief. I told the group “the mics are still on, hot mic moment coming up.” Kennedy added “legally they can’t meet like that, the city clerk must not want the Attorney General on him because he kept the mics on and what is said is being recorded and transcribed.”

Sure enough we heard the nasty comments about Jaimie and swore out loud. This was beyond a simple conspiracy, he wanted her to die. The group said in agreement “they are going down hard. No mercy.”

The news at 11PM had the chief’s nasty comments and the outrage afterward. Jaimie’s attack was no longer a simple assault but a hate crime. Those who were working that night and who missed the meeting broadcast were told what happened and swore vengeance themselves. They didn’t try to reason why, it was an attempted murder and they weren’t going to let the walking piles of fertilizer get away with it.

Kennedy’s phone rang and she told the caller that we had seen the meeting online. She told the caller that we were fine and that we were taking measures to ensure our protection. I looked at her with suspicion, the voice was different and only he should be calling us at all. I texting our contact in the Attorney General’s office to let them know we were contacted and someone was asking a question over the phone rather than in person.

Immediately my phone rang and we were told “we had a leak. It’s been fixed. Your buddies are going to be hit tonight by the weasels but I expect you are going to be in safe hands. The US Attorney is involved now and she expects your protection will give more fuel for the fire against the whole lot.”

I thanked them and hung up. I told Kennedy “you were set up, someone called you to fish for information. They were able to ping the cell tower so they know where we are. We are going to be hit tonight.” She grew scared but I assured her “we have the all clear for whatever means necessary, the US Attorney knows the situation and expects them to take action to protect us. We will be safe.”

I relayed the information to Peter who took us to the gun range and had me get up to date with the small arms that they had. M4 Carbines were my specialty but I did rather well with their 9mm pistols as well as their grenade launchers. I was shaky on the shotgun but then again I didn’t have much practice with it. I never bothered with the SWAT training courses so far so the shotgun and larger weapons weren’t my thing. I preferred my own.45 caliber pistol to the standard issue 9mm pistol as my main sidearm.

Kennedy stood back watching in awe as I shot targets and re-familiarized with the weapons. She had never seen me with my weapons and despite knowing I was in the Army she never saw me with anything larger than my personal weapon. I told her how I had qualified as a sharpshooter for my rifle and pistol but didn’t think too much about it. She told me to be proud of them, but I told her “it’s just a badge, it’s earned but you never want to put what you did to earn it into practical use in the civilian world.” She understood the real meaning and left it at that.

After dinner Peter and I got the house ready for the inevitable invasion. He triple checked the names of those who entered and sure enough at least four were bogus. What was expected was the counter for those who left was lower than those who entered so we knew they were on the base hiding. He alerted the base commander and his commanding officer about the breeches and had the base put on lockdown effective immediately He had his patrols checking the area and had his main team on standby with heavy equipment and lights. We didn’t want to injure or kill them, just arrest them.

The windows were locked, blinds drawn, and doors secured. We kept the lights on low but managed to let a little out to show we were there. A half hour after sunset they made their move. We heard voices and movement outside. Peter silently gave the signal on his radio which got the units in motion.

The back window was broken and two made entrance into the house only to be gagged and knocked unconscious by Peter and I. We ripped off their ski masks and hoodie and got a laugh. I knew who they were and bluntly said “you two have to be the dumbest people possible. That’s twice you have tried to hurt Kennedy and I and that will ensure you are in prison for years.”

Outside the other two were caught in floodlights and line of fire for multiple M4s and machine guns and told to put their hands in the air while four fully uniformed US Air Force Security Forces officers made their way to them with guns drawn. They tried to resist but were laughed at. One tried to kick his way out of an arm lock only to have his shoulder wrenched while the other tried to squirm away only to have his elbow bent in the wrong direction. Both were at fault, their arresting officers simply stood firm trying to hold back laughter at the sight. Their grips were firm but not harmful, it was their own doing that caused their injuries.

Peter read all four their Miranda Rights and hauled them off to the base jail to await transfer to the federal courthouse in Springfield by US Marshals. The four cringed at hearing that, they knew they were in trouble but the feds were something else entirely. Peter told them bluntly “how could you not know this was a military base? This is Westover, not Barnes! Air Reserve not Air National Guard!” I shook my head then said “Peter, those four are the dumbest members of my department. I suspect they used some monetary or familial to get appointed.”

An hour later we were back at Peter’s house with a board placed over the broken window. We were phoned by our handler who told us that the attempted raid was caught on tape by a hidden camera by Peter’s unit. I told them that the group included the two thugs who attacked me in front of them in my home which got them laughing and saying “that’s a guaranteed prison sentence now, and means they are going to do all the dirty work for us. I might also have to have the department investigated regarding their fraudulent civil service list results in addition to the corruption already known.”

I tried to say something about mine but was told simply “your scores are genuine, we had to investigate you to determine if you were lying or not. Since you just passed on the most recent test your exam was still in the archives and untainted Your background is clean, which was why we trusted you to keep the originals documents in the first place despite a lawyer being given them.”

They tried to say something about Kennedy’s past that I should know about but I stopped them. I reiterated that I had made it clear to her that I didn’t care about her past only as long as she didn’t commit any crimes. They assured me that wasn’t the issue so I said bluntly “then there is no issue. Whatever her true past is doesn’t concern me and I don’t really care. The person I know is the person I met in college and nothing more.” They took the hint and hung up with assurances that we could return home in three days once the rats had been exterminated from the department.

Kennedy heard my last bit and tried to explain it. I stopped her stating the same thing I told our contacts. She shed a tear and thanked me, I just held her until she stopped crying then added “I meant every word. Your past is yours alone, I know only the woman from college not whomever you were in California.”

The next morning we were visited by members of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations who were eager to hear about the incident. They were made aware of why we were there and when they heard the reason for the attack they put two and two together. The investigation was easy for them as we had the physical evidence on hand and untouched as we all stayed outside the kitchen and despite boarding up the window it was untouched. We ate breakfast elsewhere, eating with the crew at the mess hall and getting lots of grins from the airmen there as they realized we were involved in the commotion the night before.

The idiots two broke in didn’t wear gloves and their hair was inside the ski masks so there was no denying they did the break-in. With their evidence secured and with the information on hand from the Provost Marshall and base commander the OSI detectives cleared us and stated they were going to have a field day with those four. Outside after they finished packing up they were on the verge of laughter as they heard the story about the other two hurting themselves trying to escape. They were all smiles as we had made this the easiest investigation in a while especially for their quiet area.

Later on in the morning we received a phone call to tell us we had to go back to Boston for our statements. Kennedy knew what it meant, they were going to indict soon and we were needed to nail them. Peter drove us, with two unmarked state police cruisers in support. Peter was quiet the whole time and kept an eye on the cars around us just in case the rats weren’t scared yet. Kennedy was anxious while I knew we were in for a hero’s welcome.

After two hours in silence we reached the courthouse. We were allowed to drive inside with a special parking spot saved for us. We were greeted by our three contacts who were all smiles, leading the three of us upstairs to the offices. We gave our statements before the grand jury and showed the originals to the jurors with both Kennedy and I verifying that they were original. Peter gave his statement regarding the attack on us at the base and stated that it was planned and coordinated with someone who had called Kennedy earlier. He then showed the phone record of Kennedy’s conversation adding that her phone was tapped at the request of Kennedy which I didn’t know about and grinned at hearing.

We were then ushered to the Federal Courthouse to give the same statements and this time Peter gave a more in-depth take on what happened including the false names, the attempt to escape custody, the fact that they were being observed once they came onto the base and had been spotted an hour before just outside the secure perimeter. He then produced copies of their signatures and stated that the names used were bogus and that the handwriting was the same as their drivers’ licenses.

Kennedy and I added little that Peter hadn’t already added, I only stated that this was the second attempt to get at us with the same two being involved in both and that the phone call before to Kennedy was clearly a fishing attempt to get her true location. We were greeted by the Air Force OSI officers who confirmed everything we said and added that the fingerprints matched and that the hairs were matches and they were awaiting DNA verification.

We were dismissed and told to drive to an address in Winnisimmet that I knew was a Finn Family building. Kennedy and I were going to be staying in a vacant apartment for a couple of days as the indictments were made up and that the neighbors were all on the lookout and anything odd was going to be spotted and shut down quickly. This wasn’t your typical neighborhood, this was under the close supervision of “Uncle Jorge” and he let it known that he wouldn’t accept anyone talking about the people who were staying in the apartment.

Two days in we were told the indictments were ready. I was asked to serve the arrest warrants personally. First stop was the captain, I read him his rights and placed the cuffs on him while he swore up a storm. Next were the top lieutenants including my direct superior. He tried to make a run for it but was stopped by one of the US Marshals assisting us who handed him over to me to make the official arrest. The final one was the union chief who tried to shoot at us but was stopped by a bullet to the shoulder by an FBI agent liaising with the investigation. He swore vengeance against me but clammed up when an additional charge of threats against an officer was added to his arrest record.

The only one who wasn’t arrested was the city councilor who was involved in the conspiracy. The federal agents assigned to the joint task force told me that they had dug deep and found a lot of interesting things that he had done and had concocted a sting right in front of him. I sensed there was more to the story than they were saying but went along with it. The man would be removed and the feds would get him no matter what.

Kennedy was with me at the meeting as was Evelyn Johnson, Jaimie Finn’s grandmother. She was going to attend on the family’s behalf and gave me assurances that everything I had done was known to all in the family and they would reward me for my efforts despite my protests against it. She just grinned, as if what I had done had proved something to her.

The meeting was simple, the purpose was to select a new police chief as the current one is now in jail awaiting trial. In addition the department was in a shambles as most of the senior staff was directly or indirectly involved in the conspiracy. The remaining two captains refused the job citing age and lack of interest. Several neighboring senior officers refused out of respect for the department’s in-house officers. Nobody had any idea who would be selected and I hoped that they got my suggestions from the governor.

I was called up to appear before the council and answer questions. Louis Reagan started the questions off by asking me how involved I was in the investigation. I stated I had made the state aware of the problem from the start and questioned the reasoning for the memos and the actions of the department. I showed the action taken against me and then reiterated what had been done against me to ensure I didn’t tell anyone. He nodded, knowing full well what went on but allowing the other councilors to learn the whole truth.

He asked about my conversation with Governor James. I was shocked that he knew about it but told the truth about the recommendations that I gave him. He then asked if I knew why he was asking me about who to bring in as chief and admitted I didn’t have a clue. I honestly didn’t know, I thought he wanted an honest opinion from someone inside the department.

He then stated “he was testing your loyalty to the citizens of our city as opposed to the department. You showed no ambition in trying to achieve the post and were honest in your answers and your reasoning. Governor James asked around to the various neighboring cities and town departments about who best to appoint as the new chief and your name came up above all others. After a thorough check into your background we have come to an agreement that you are needed to lead the department and therefor are going to nominate you as chief.”

I was stunned. I had no intention of ever being anything beyond a sergeant and even that was only because Kennedy forced me to take the test. Louis nodded to show it wasn’t a joke then allowed the others to ask questions of their own for the record to show they were involved in the decision.

This is where things got interesting. They had clearly discussed this in private and this was only a formal hearing for the general public. That was until our friendly corrupt councilor got up and asked that my nomination be withdrawn. The others gave a sly smile and I could see what was really happening, this was what the federal agents wanted me there for more than anything else.

Our wayward councilor stated that I was unfit to serve as chief. He stated that my friendship with Kennedy was not one that the city should allow from any of its most prominent civil servants. He stated that she wasn’t who she claimed to be and that allowing me to be chief would bring nothing but shame to the department and the city.

Louis was quick to respond by asking what he meant. Kennedy braced for the worst and had tears in her eyes. I told her quietly “whatever is said changes nothing, you are my friend no matter what.” She eased a little but I could see she was about to have a breakdown.

Our wily councilor stated with great pride “that lady is no lady. Until age 18 was a fully functioning male. That thing might have undergone a sex change bit it’s still a male and having it be close with our chief of police will bring nothing but embarrassment to our city and police department. I demand that you revoke the offer and find someone else to appoint to the job!”

Kennedy burst into tears and collapsed in front of me. I was about to jump up and say something but Evelyn Johnson did it before me. She tore into the councilor stating “councilor, I would love to know how you could possibly have any of that information. I have it on good authority that those records were sealed at Ms. Eaton’s request and what you just did was not only an invasion of privacy but also highly illegal. Now I will ask you this once and only once where did you get that information because unless you have a search warrant to obtain private information about a private citizen you violated her civil rights!.”

He tried to backtrack but Louis Reagan nailed him by stating “we have evidence that you used city resources to investigate a private citizen who had done nothing illegal. You have opened up the city to a massive lawsuit that we can’t defend against. You have illegally accessed closed information that can only be opened with a court order. Councilor I hope you have a good lawyer because you are going to need it. Ms. Eaton is a highly sought after lawyer with powerful allies in the state government particularly the Attorney General and now the Governor, they will ensure that you are sent to prison for your actions.”

He grinned then added “I see we have special agents with the FBI and US Marshals Service in the audience and I suspect that you are also under investigation for local crimes related to city resources, your little rant against Ms. Eaton has given them just cause to go into our computers to find evidence against you. Enjoy your freedom, councilor, because I don’t believe you will see the light of day for several years once these fine law enforcers are finished with their investigations into you!”

The rest of the council responded in kind and stated that what the councilor had said regarding Kennedy would be removed from the record as well as edited from the video broadcast and that the original would be handed over to the proper authorities. One asked if this was legal to which Louis Reagan replied “we cleared this with the Attorney General and the US Attorney first and a notation will be made regarding the removal and why. It is also why this is not being aired live and the general public was being kept away from the meeting. We didn’t have to hold the meeting at all, simply state for the record at the next open council meeting that we had agreed to hire Wilfredo Pena as chief of police.”

The council got the meeting back to order and I was told to stand before the council. I stated “my friendship is my own business and no concern of the council. I stand by my friends and this city owes a debt of gratitude to my friend. Without her help none of what was discovered during the investigation would have happened. If the council takes offense to that then I want nothing further to do with either this city and will resign from the police department.”

Louis Reagan held up a hand and stated “a few of us knew her past and we agreed it did not matter as we knew what she had done for our city and how closely tied you two have been. Your own words show you are exactly who we need to lead our police department. We are offering you the position of chief for your honesty, integrity, devotion to the job, and devotion to justice. We ask that you accept the job.”

I turned to face Kennedy who softly said “you deserve the job.”

I turned back towards the councilors and said “I accept provided I am allowed to remove from the department those who were involved in the conspiracy who escaped direct legal action. This department needs to be reformed and without a cleared house we will still be festering underneath with little gained.”

The council asked for a vote and it was unanimous. I was the new chief of police effective immediately, with Kennedy giving me a big hug. We drove to my home and saw it was a shambles but that didn’t matter, we stood strong against the tide of corruption and came out with our heads held high. Before I could get too emotional I sat Kennedy down and told her “I meant every word. You are my friend no matter what and what you were born as doesn’t matter one iota to me. Real friends stick by your side, and you are as real of a friend as anyone can have.”

She leaned in and kissed me on the lips. I didn’t react, just let her get it out of the way. She was my friend, I didn’t see her as a lover but I never considered her to be one. I felt an urge to kiss her back but she told me quietly “I wanted to do that for ages. I love you but I know you will take your time.” I kissed her back and said quietly “I love you too.”

John Finn came by the apartment soon after and asked if we wanted to return to the vacant apartment until we found a suitable home. I reluctantly agreed, this place was too rough to stay in anymore. He told me about a home across the street from him that would be perfect for us, adding “you can’t accept gratuities from people but you can accept a good price on a home. The owner is fine with you buying it at market rate. He’d rather sell it to someone who has shown he cares about the city than someone who just wants to flip it for a profit.”

Kennedy and I saw the home the next day and agreed to buy it provided we got a loan. He gave me the name of a loan officer and said “tell him John Finn sent you” which was enough to show he had it all arranged ahead of time. Kennedy smiled realizing what happened telling me “he repaid you for what you did for his daughter.” I hugged her and told her “he repaid US.” She leaned in and kissed me deeply while John snickered as he walked away.

Kennedy moved in with me as soon as we closed on the house. The former owner was happy to sell quickly to beat the fall change of temperature. Jaimie was happy to meet Kennedy, the two spent a lot of time talking and bonded over their tough upbringing as well as Kennedy’s gender change. She helped Jaimie smooth over some rough spots with her boyfriend.

We were married in a small ceremony Columbus Day. The Finns, Lopezes, and their friends were the only ones who attended. Peter gave Kennedy away while my friend Paul Douglas served as my best man. I pulled John aside and thanked him for everything he had done for us with Kennedy hugging him tightly. John just shrugged it off, telling us firmly “you deserved it all. I would have given you two a huge wedding but you would never accept it. You two may not have a lot of friends or family but you do have us now. You are our friend and you can be your bottom dollar that the kids will see you as family, especially my kids.”

The End.

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