December 07, 2008

Legend among cops

  Drew is among the best of the best in law enforcement. During his legendary career he is responsible for putting more than 500 bad guys in prison.

  So good is he at what he does that criminal defense lawyers prefer not to have him testify. Instead, they advise their clients to enter a "plea" rather than risk a jury trial where the penalty would almost certainly go higher.

  One of Drew's important cases in the early 1980s went all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. In that case, two men were convicted of breaking into a home improvement store and stealing expensive power tools.

  Deputies called Drew out in the middle of the night to work that case. The veteran sleuth tracked the burglars through thickets and mud fields until the posse reached a ramshackle hut along a dirt road.

  Based on the law of "hot pursuit," Drew leads his fellow officers up the front porch steps. The command: "Police! Open up!" is quickly followed by a swift kick of a police boot.

  Inside, the cops find two men hiding under bed covers. Drew has skillfully followed the suspects' trail for more than three miles through rough terrain from the crime scene to the arrest scene.

  Lawyers appeal the conviction. But by the time it's over, the highest court in the land upholds Drew's actions and the conviction stands.

  The warrantless arrest was valid, the high court says, because Drew maintained "hot pursuit" of the suspects, even though the posse was hours behind the burglars.

  Drew died nearly a decade ago from cancer. But in the minds of many law enforcement veterans who knew him, the mere mention of Drew's name causes a feeling of pride for deeds that may never again be equaled. Drew was, indeed, a truly remarkable — police bloodhound.

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