Long arm of law grows around city police office

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 25, 2000

Thanks to a lot of water and a little fertilizer, the long arm of the law could easily be a plant growing at the Natchez Police Department. In an office at the D’Evereux Drive department, an ivy-like plant is slowly growing arm-like vines around all the walls of the windowless room.

The plant, which is called a Pothos, has lived in the office of Natchez’s Criminal Investigative Division since 1994 and was a birthday present to Sgt. Jody Waldrop.

&uot;I water it once a week on Friday with just water but once a month or so I hit it with a liquid mix of Miracle Grow,&uot; Waldrop said.

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The plant sits in a corner of the office on a cabinet, and its tentacles cover more than two walls. The investigators use tape to hold it in place as it grows.

&uot;It just started growing so I decided just to see if it would grow all the way around the room,&uot; Waldrop said. &uot;If it hadn’t been for the spider mite incident it would have (already) been around the room.

Waldrop said he has also repotted the plant several times.

Part of the reason for the plant’s existence is Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff, Waldrop said.

When the police department first moved into its D’Evereux office, Huff did not want employees to hang any pictures.

&uot;The plant was the only thing he’d let us put on the wall,&uot; Waldrop said.

Having Waldrop’s plant in the office has also motivated other members of the CID office to bring plants to work.

Investigator Roosevelt Owens has two plants on his desk, one of which he calls his &uot;retirement plant.&uot; The longtime employee of the Natchez Police Department often says he plans to retire once the leaves of this plant reach the floor.

&uot;So we hit it (with fertilizer) twice as often,&uot; joked Huff.

Despite this, many of the investigators think Owens does not really want to retire. They think Owens clips the plant himself and &uot;occasionally he comes over and tangles it up so it won’t hang naturally (to the floor),&uot; said Investigator Gary Nations.

Detective Tom Grennell also brought a plant to the office, which is starting to grows its own vines around one of the walls of the office.

Police officers &uot;basically like to have hobbies too,&uot; Grennell said. And they &uot;like to have a relaxed environment for working.&uot;

The investigators say Waldrop’s plant attracts a great deal of attention and in the past few days has started to grow on the only office wall as yet uncovered with its vines.

&uot;You’d be amazed just to see the plant grow right in front of your eyes,&uot; Grennell said.