I bet if there's one thing you don't think about enough, it's the fine work that Special Agents are doing right now to keep us safe. Now I know you're probably thinking about special secret agents smashing terror plots, or special customs agents catching those guys who try to fly with underwear filled with Amazonian frogs and venomous snakes. And they do great work. But what about the Special Agents who work on the railroads, all the livelong day? What about them, huh? Do they get their own comic books?
They sure do, Jimmy. They sure do. Let's listen for the "all aboard," take our seats, wait a reasonable time before bolting to the bar car for a few stiff jolts, and settle in to learn about the Railroad Police.
Ever worry about the safety and security of whatever it is that those giant noisy freight trains are hauling back and forth on the railroad tracks down at the end of your subdivision? I'm sure you don't! Because that isn't your job. It's the Railroad Policeman's job! He makes sure those seals are untampered with. And when they HAVE been tampered with? Uh-oh!
A key part of the training of every Special Agent is the ability to subtract 23 from 25 and, perhaps, other more complex mathematical functions.
That's right, it's an all-hands-on-deck RED ALERT- two whole boxes of leather jackets have been stolen! And if you think that's an over-reaction, here they are alerting the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Quit chasing those kidnappers and bank robbers, we've got some hoboes out there with stolen Fonzie jackets!
Only the trained eye of the Special Agent can spot a discarded tin can and the ashes of a campfire. Tremble in fear, hoboes... the Special Agent is on your trail.
These angry, unshaven, freight-hopping, dog-threatening, new-jacket-sporting fellows aren't ordinary hoboes. The Special Agent knows.
Forensic Science reveals that these so-called "hoboes" are actually escaped convicts from the State Penitentiary, which kind of makes me ask, why is the first line of law enforcement involved in catching escaped convicts a couple of railroad dicks? Shouldn't there be an APB out for these jailbirds already? Some sort of Federal marshal search of every dog house, hen house, and outhouse in a sixty mile perimeter or something?
And our two hoboes/convicts are captured and the vital two boxes of leather jackets - which were insured in transit anyways, so what's the big deal? - are returned to their proper place in the scheme of things, to be shoplifted one at a time from a chain of menswear discount stores across the Eastern seaboard.
The railroad police had their beginning a hundred years back when some of the railroads hired the Pinkerton agency to, uh, help bust the unions and break strikes (and heads). Oh, and also guard President Lincoln, they did that. So not EVERYTHING they did was bad. OK?
Railroad police are so organized they even have a table of organization, just like every other organization ever. And with powers of arrest on or off railroad property, they swagger unchecked through America's towns and cities, detaining citizens at will! Why doesn't that make me feel better?
Considering disturbing the safety and convenience of American's railroad patrons? Think again, wise guy! The Railroad Police are on the job!
Yes, some of the trespassers apprehended by Railroad Police are dangerous criminals with long records. Then again, some of them are just guys who collect crazy old weapons. Check out the old-timey bayonet or that exotic curved knife! Is that a Navy Colt?
Back in the 1950s if you wanted to send direct typed messages to far away people you had to have an office and a dedicated phone line and specialized equipment at both ends and we called it a "teletype". Now we just use our phones and we call it "sexting".
If you ever did anything wrong or suspicious on a train anywhere, guess what, they've got your picture on their wall! So if you're planning any mischief on a train, wear your good suit and comb your hair.
But forget all that mugshot teletype arresting hoboes stuff, the real job of the Railroad Police is educating young people about how dangerous it is to trespass on railroad property. How dangerous? VERY dangerous. Here's a movie.
Okay people, we're stopping this express dead in the middle of nowhere until SOMEBODY admits to taking Mrs. Johnson's lunch money!
Railroad Police have to know first aid, fingerprinting, use of firearms, judo, and how to break someone's spine so that their head flops around uselessly, as seen in this helpful illustration.
So if you need someone to watch your trains, work for civil defense and internal security, and prevent sabotage, you'd better get the organization whose purpose and duties take on ever more ominous and threatening characteristics the longer we describe them - the Railroad Police!
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