We hear so much about the transgressions of the police that we might forget how many cops really join the force to serve and protect. Of course, there are bad cops. Dumb cops. Sadists. Perverts. Crooks… That’s how it is with people – some are bad. Really bad.
Then along comes Derek Conley, a Sarasota police officer, to remind us that a lot of cops are all right.
An AP story yesterday described how Officer Conley came to the rescue of some 100 baby sea turtles that were milling about in the parking lot of the Lido Beach resort. Here’s an excerpt from the story:
Sarasota officer Derek Conley was on patrol at 1 a.m. Saturday when he saw sea turtle hatchlings crawling toward the front door of the Lido Beach Resort. A passerby also told Conley that several dozen other baby turtles were walking around the hotel’s parking lot. Conley, along with some resort guests, scooped up the hatchlings in a box and released them into the water.
“I began collecting hatchlings from the street and stopped traffic several times to do so,” wrote Conley in a report.
A news release says that Conley spotted three dead turtles, and he estimates that 90 to 100 turtles were saved.
The story not only reminds us that we are fortunate to have police officers like Derek Conley; it also reminds us how fragile nature is. I’ve seen baby turtles wandering about on our lawn a couple of times, and I’ve herded them across the road to the lake as best I could. And from time to time, I’ve rescued a mother turtle who had scraped her way across the asphalt intent on burying her eggs in our yard. Why don’t they have more sense? Aren’t animals supposed to be gifted with a life preserving instinct? Why can’t those mama turtles find a safer place for their nests?
What sensible mother would make her nest near the parking lot of a tourist resort?
It seems the world wasn’t created with development in mind. So many creatures are sacrificed to the demands of “progress.” I am saddened by this realization every time I see a mangled possum or squashed armadillo by the side of the road. And I can’t bear to think of the dead Florida panthers, so beautiful, so rare.
But the story serves to remind us that the government isn’t all bad, either. Sea turtles are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, which makes it legal for Officer Conley to spend the taxpayers’ time saving a gaggle of hatchlings.
It’s something for us humans to keep in mind. In this glorious creation we call the world, nature can only do so much. That might be why mankind was added – to serve and protect. Like a good cop.