When the Batten Family Singers presented their concert at the Fair Barn a few weeks ago, I was privileged to meet Mr. Batten and to have a visit about one of his relatives, Mose Batten, who was a city policeman for many years and who was also a friend for as long as I can remember.
After that visit, many memories of the past erupted and allowed me to recall a lot of the history of our peace officers, county, city, and state. Through the years, I have had the opportunity to know many of those officers and enjoyed remembering them.
As some of you will recall, Dad was Quay County Sheriff for a number of terms; thus, I knew his deputies and jailers as friends because they were in and out of the residence in the courthouse. Also, the city officers were around and had time to visit with a child if she had a question. In the earlier days, we had only one state police officer stationed here, and he was around the sheriff’s office also.
I’m not sure when Mr. Batten joined the city force, but I had known him and his wife before then and certainly had respect for him during his years as a city officer. During the years when our town had at least three times as many people as it has today, we had at least three times fewer law enforcement officers, but they seemed to know most of us well enough to call us by name and always waved when we met on the street or in the country.
They were friendly to people of all ages and stations in life. They could be seen visiting with people along Main Street or in almost any business in town. If they were driving around town doing their routine checking, they often stopped by the curb to talk to anyone working in their yards or sitting on their porches.
Again, they always waved as they drove along. Most of us respected them because they knew us and earned our respect by taking time to visit or to help. We knew they were our friends, but we also knew they would discipline us if necessary. We knew when to be on our best behavior and when we could tease them.
I remember Mr. Batten and Dad working together on several cases. One distinct memory of Mr. Batten was his effort to help people in real trouble. He even enlisted Dad’s help one night although Dad was not an officer at the time.
They solved the problem almost immediately, and Mr. Batten took charge of the prisoner while Dad went back to the house. They knew they could depend on each other and just naturally worked well together.
So many memories have come to mind since meeting Mr. Batten’s relatives that I have had a chance to review much history of our law enforcement officers and have certainly noticed many changes through the years.
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.