Culpeper Times • July 19-25, 2018
➤ Osborn, from Page 6 Saturday night,” Osborn recalled. “Two women were standing by the railroad track and they were beat up. A woman and her mother said her husband did it. They lived down at the end of the alley at an apartment complex. I pulled up and they got out of the car and they were standing up in the yard there. Back then I couldn’t get a warrant because I didn’t see anything. I had to take them to the Justice of the Peace office, get a warrant and come back and get him. All of a sudden the front door of the apartment blew open and this guy walked right out and said ‘God dang it I’m going to kill you.’ BOOM! Shotgun, 36-inch barrel, I was 21-feet from him. He missed.” Osborn was standing in the roadway beside the police car, he heard the shot hit a tree behind him and he quickly responded. “I pulled my pistol out and I shot, he was a little taller than me - 6-2 or 6-3 I cut that No. 1 apartment in two with my shot and I didn’t touch him,” Osborn said. “He went back in. That was Saturday night, and the jail stayed open late. I got on the radio and called the sheriff ’s department. Sheriff (Mason) Green and two troopers came. Sheriff Green went in first, I went in second and that bullet had gone in No. 1, went through the wall in the living and room and fell out in the floor in the bedroom. The guy was sitting in the bedroom in a chair, on the bed he had the gun loaded ready to go again with a box of shells laying on the bed.” Shockingly, the officers took him into custody without firing another shot. At the time, Culpeper was small and everyone knew each other, so a case a few weeks later was difficult for Osborn. Two young men went to high school with his brother, and Osborn got a call that their mother had shot herself. “Of course I knew them and I knew their mother,” Osborn said. “I went in and she had shot herself in the breast. I told myself I couldn’t work this so I called someone else. She lived but I said to myself, ‘what the hell kind of job do I got here.’” Those incidents were few and far between, and soon life settled down in Culpeper. Still, he recalled another time that trouble rolled into Culpeper and he was the officer on duty to settle it down. “It wasn’t bad,” Osborn said. “I was lucky. One night, I don’t remember what year it was, I got a call from PW (Prince William) that there was a shooting on 28 involving three men and they described the car to me. Of course everything had to come through Main Street. There was no bypasses then. I went down by Baby Jim’s, across the street there where the laundromat is now. I was sitting there and here comes the car. So I thought I’d let them get up by the other end of town and stop them by the service station. I got them up on Main and Davis streets and they took a left on Davis. I said ‘oh sh*t’ they’re going to take me down the alley. I stopped them right there by Yowell’s Hardware (where Grassrootes is now) and I walked up to the car and the boy on the right hand side was putting his hand up by the glove box. I said ‘nuh-huh, don’t do it because you
Local News won’t remember taking your hand away.’” Osborn made the driver, passenger and person in the back get on the hood of the car, which is where a passerby found them. They asked if Osborn needed help. “I said ‘yeah, can you go one block down East Street, go down behind the theatre and go down and get Sheriff Green,” Osborn said. “Wasn’t but a couple minutes the Sheriff comes up the street he had on his shower shoes, his pants and a gun and that was it. We carried the guys to jail, we called PW and they came and got them that night.” While stopping crime like that was exciting, working with the students at Anne Wingfield Elementary and getting to know the kids was one of the more rewarding aspects of the job. That came in handy if he caught them stealing hubcaps later on. “I’d talk to them, write their names down and say ‘if I catch you again, I’m going to have to do something,’” Osborn said. “I never caught them again.” Osborn said he never carried a nightstick and they didn’t have mace back then. It was a simple philosophy that he employed that served him well over the years. “You try to treat them the way you’d want to be treated,” Osborn said. “Most of the time it would work out.” Now, he’s shocked by the amount of drugs that are in town - pointing out that the main issue back in the 50s and 60s was alcohol. “When I was there, drinking was the big thing,” Osborn said. “You had the same ones over and over drinking and if you were caught three or four times they sent you down to the state farm for 90 days. That was the big thing. Drugs were just starting to come on the scene. I used to laugh and say we were too far in the sticks for it to come here. But it did. It worried me from day one. It worried me because I had four kids coming up.” One of those kids, David, was with his dad on Wednesday, proudly beaming as Tom shared his stories. “I’m proud of my dad,” David Osborn said. “He always had time for us and now time is getting short.” He said he recalled his dad pulling up in that old Plymouth and hitting the red lights. Culpeper was a different place then. “Everyone knew everyone, people genuinely cared about you,” David Osborn said. “We had a lot of respect for everyone here.” David set the ride along up with Chief Chris Jenkins, who he knew from his high school days. He wanted to make sure the officers of today got to see what the past in Culpeper was like. “I thought I really want daddy to go over and get connected with these guys and share some stories with them,” David Osborn said. Lt. Jeff Dodson led the roll call meeting and presented Osborn with his chief ’s medal. “It’s awesome,” Dodson said. “Just talking to him there’s just so much information. With the technology and the cars policing has changed, but if you dig down deep the principles of community policing haven’t changed at all really.”
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