Provo police officers predictably awful at jokes

If you are reading this and you work for Provo Police Department, here is a list of what is funny:

Pies in the face
Mistaken identity
Observational humor about relationships or how difficult it is to program your VCR.
Anything following the Yakov Smirnoff Soviet Russia Reversal Model (Ex: “In America, you eat
hamburger. In Soviet Russia, hamburger eats you!”)

And here is a list of what is not funny:

Crib death
Robin Williams
“Your mom” jokes
Unduly harassing some poor BYU student, innocently parked by Zion’s Bank, and making her believe
that she is suspected of terrorist activities for ten minutes before laughing the whole thing off as a joke.

Of course, some people, try as they might, just don’t understand comedy.

Bailee Issacson, a sophomore at BYU, was parked by Zion’s Bank around 7 p.m. on June 25. The student, who had only been in Provo a short while, had found herself lost and was phoning her mother for directions. Suddenly she looked up and found herself flanked by two police cars.

Instead of giving Issacson directions and sending her on her merry way, Officers Kreston Bascom and Devon Jensen decided to spice things up with a practical joke. According to Issacson, the officers informed her that an alarm had been tripped at the nearby bank and asked her if she had any weapons. Issacson at first laughed, as she did not feel as though she looked like the kind of girl that carries a weapon in her car. Bascom and Jensen, however, got angry and told her it was a serious matter.

The would-be Abbot and Costello went on to tell Issacson that someone had called in her car and reported that she was carrying grenades and weapons. They inquired if she had recently been in the Middle East. Issacson started to believe that the bank had been robbed and that she was being framed.

Suddenly, Bascom and Jensen started laughing. It was all a joke, they said. The offered her help with directions, told her to have a good night and then left.

Issacson told reporters that, although she was in shock at first, she later decided to file a formal complaint. Upon filing, Issacson was called by a supervisor, who informed her that the officers had been spoken to at length about their behavior; however, being that this was Bascom and Jensen’s first offense, no formal punishment would be incurred at that time.

For Issacson and her family, however, that is not good enough. Faith in the institution of law enforcement has been shaken. Illusions of the gallant uniformed officer, charged with a sacred trust to serve and protect, have been effectively banged-up, if not shattered outright. Congratulations, Officers – you now have one more person in this world who does not trust the police.

Meanwhile, by all accounts, Officers Bascom and Jensen are free to patrol streets, free to test their off-beat brand of humor on more unsuspecting citizens.

The next time you get pulled over in Provo, you could either receive a traffic citation or you could just be barraged with dead baby jokes. This would be fine if police officers were paid to make the public chuckle. But they aren’t. People like Zach Galifianakis and Jerry Seinfeld are charged with illiciting the belly laughs.

The cut of tax-dollars that goes to law enforcement is dispersed with the expectation that officers are going to drive around Provo, ready to stop crimes from being committed. When people are endowed with the kind of power afforded a police officer, it should be more than explicit that a certain amount of decorum and restraint is expected. Ordinary people are given law enforcement powers on the condition that they will behave themselves to the nth degree, beyond any reproach. Those who do not lose the trust of the people – and should be punished accordingly.

To the men and women of Provo’s Finest: You are more than encouraged to follow your comedy dreams, if that is what you wish. Follow them all the way to Evening at the Damn Improv for all we care. But we ask you to please do it on your own time, when you’re not receiving a cut of our tax dollars. There are meth-heads and rapists lurking in the shadows all over Provo and, when you’re on the clock, we expect you to keep them in check. On your days off, we have Johnny B’s, Wiseguys and Comedy Sportz right here in the area. They have open mic nights. Bring all your knock-knock jokes and break a leg. We wish you good luck and good laughter.
Except Kresten Bascom and Devon Jensen. To those two clowns we specifically say don’t quit your day job. Or, actually, maybe get different day jobs.


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