It started with “looking for Josh Casey” and ended with “you’re under arrest.” Those were the words from an RCMP officer before I was placed in handcuffs — but not before making a daring escape through The Interior News office.
As you may have seen on our social media last Thursday, I was arrested for this year’s Jail N’ Bail.
Our bearded sales guy tipped me off a few weeks back that I would be participating in the event, which I without hesitation agreed to because it’s for a great cause.
Fast forward to Thursday and it’s just after noon o’clock, I’m working at my desk chasing down interviews for the week’s stories and I’ve just gotten off the phone when an RCMP officer comes into the office and it’s showtime. My freedom is quickly coming to an end.
As the charges are read aloud, I’m thinking let’s make this interesting and make a run for the exit. I could have made it … just not very far at all.
It was my first time being placed under arrest and put in handcuffs — however, not my first time in the back of a cop car. The year was 2015 and while I was an intern reporter at a TV station, I was driven into a scene by a cop. Yup, that’s the story — tricked you.
As the cold steel handcuffs were placed on my wrists, the clicking of the cuffs securing and the officer putting his hand on my arm, walking me out of our office, the first thing that came to mind was well this is interesting — and an awkward one at that.
It’s not every day that a reporter gets led out of the officer in handcuffs and typically it’s not a good thing. But this time it was for charity.
I’m placed into the back of the fully marked police car; hard plastic seats, steel bars on the windows, and a Plexiglas cage separating the prisoner from the cop. Definitely no high-end ride, but I am a criminal and heading to jail.
After a short drive to the credit union’s parking lot, I’m placed in the jail cell where for several hours I would spend my time trying to raise money for bail. You’d think the first ones to enter the cell would leave first; nope, not for this guy. As time ticks by, ‘criminals’ who entered the cell after I did post bail.
I quickly realize it’s all about contacts and the longer you’re in town for, the more people you can pool from. Having only been in Smithers for a select number of months, my pool of resources is quite limited.
I place a call to one of the only people I know in town and she wasn’t able to garner the funds since she’s freshly out of university. Well, ain’t that a pickle, I said. She did however say having me placed in ‘jail’ made her day and offered me pretzels, salted ones even. Those pretzels would never come.
Time to find another donor.
At the end of the event, I’m let out of the cell and able to return back to work.
For all those who donated to help this reporter and to all the other ‘criminals,’ thank-you.
Also a big thank-you to the volunteers who helped set up and made the event possible, you made Smithers a wee bit safer.
Josh Casey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.