Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Rooster" and The Cop

by Jo Ann Warrington
published in American Police Beat

The police cruiser was patrolling close to the railroad yard one rainy night when the patrol car's spotlight picked up movement on the tracks. Wayne (Merle) Warrington got out of this patrol car and noticed it was a man and he was really drunk. That night the lives of the cop and the man on railroad tracks took an intermingling path that lasted almost 20 years.
We lived in Tom Bean at the time they met, so Rooster called Wayne "Tom Bean." Rooster's real name was W.G.Darland. We never knew how he came about being called "Rooster."
Rooster didn't go to jail that night for public intoxication, instead Wayne took him home after finally figuring out where he lived. After that he wasn't so lucky. Many times Wayne arrested Rooster for walking down the road or riding his bicycle while drunk. This happened so many times all Wayne had to do was tell him to go get in the police car and he would. If another officer put him in jail he would call Wayne (even if it was during the night) to bring his medicine to him when Wayne came to work.
​Rooster started calling on Wayne more often because he knew he could depend on him. He would see that Rooster had a place to live, clothes he needed and a few other things that would make his life more comfortable. --> -->
It wasn't unusual for some of Rooster's "friends" to help themselves to his meager possessions and when Wayne found out about it, he confronted them and that would be the end of that. To some of them it was a way of life, but they didn't want any part of getting in trouble with the policeman that checked often on Rooster.
When Rooster passed away it was like another chapter closed in our lives, Wayne was also leaving the department. We were told he passed away around midnight. Close to the same hour that Wayne and Rooster had met so many years before.
When we think of Rooster, we remember his good nature and we knew he appreciated what was done for him. He never held it against Wayne for putting him in
jail, in fact he would say, "Tom Bean is just doing his job." If he was here now he would laugh with us at how many times Wayne told him to "go get in the police car."
​This article is a condensed version of the original printed in th national "Police Beat" magazine. Wayne was recognized by many awards and a folder full of commendations: The Purple Heart, A Letter of Appreciation from the McKinney Fire Dept., The Life Saving Bar for rescuing a mother and son from a house fire and the Police Shield award for injuries he sustained when he was shot while on duty.

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