The story you are about to read is true. Only the names — except mine, of course — have been changed to protect the innocent.
Trust me. I was as innocent as Sgt. Joe Friday in Dragnet. But how I found myself in a law enforcement restraining device is worth a little investigation.
It was the early 1990s. I was working a morning show at a CBS affiliate. Mike was directing. Steve was my boss. My name — Lucy Luginbill — headlined the program intro.
A stickler for details, I needed additional video on location for an upcoming interview. That’s where Badge 000 entered the scene.
“Would it work for you if I come by the station?” I inquired of my prospective interviewee who was scheduled for the next day’s studio taping. “I’d like to get some B roll of the latest crime technology.”
Within minutes, I arrived at police headquarters, my footsteps echoing in the hallway as the door slammed behind me. Was it my imagination or could I hear Danger Ahead playing softly in the background?
Camera in hand, I questioned Badge 000 about the newest tools to outmaneuver criminals. Without delay I was led to a confinement room, an unusually equipped chair center stage.
“Would you like to try it out?” he offered, hoping to give me a real sense of the behind-the-scenes detention. “We just got it set up this morning!”
The wide black straps — one from the left, the other from the right — were locked tightly across my chest as I sat bolt upright in the slightly reclining chair, my hands useless in what felt like a straightjacket. Near my legs were the additional straps ready to lock into place.
Momentarily, the official’s comprehensive explanation and procedure was interrupted when another officer called for assistance in the hallway.
“I’ll need to pick up my daughter from school shortly,” I casually mentioned when The Badge returned.
Swiftly he moved to release the straps. They were locked securely.
He searched for the key. Missing.
The clock ticked as I anxiously squirmed in the chair.
“I think if you leave the room,” I said, sucking in my tummy, “I may be able to wiggle out of this contraption.”
So while I profusely thanked God that my legs hadn’t been confined, I inched my feet forward, sliding and twisting in a manner that would have made Houdini proud.
The next morning as I sat on the studio set, ready for Badge 000 to appear, a different individual entered the room.
“I’m substituting for your original guest,” he said with a smile. “He wasn’t able to make it today.”
I understood. He was tied up.