February 11, 2002 - Police Officer Artist - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Tumey's Travels

February 11, 2002 - Police Officer Artist

Here's the story of a cop who's faster on the draw with a paint brush than a pistol. Painter Michael Verrett pauses in the middle of working on a mural to tell some on-looking kids, "My mom told me I could draw real nice, but don't do it on the wall anymore."

But to this day Michael still draws on the walls. If there is a school which would like a mural in the library or wherever, chances are they can hire Michael. His fees are what you would call pretty reasonable. Just buy the paints and give him an occasional Dr. Pepper.

"And then I supply the artwork," he says. "I think it's kind of reasonable. The school system couldn't afford this sort of thing, so I'm basically a volunteer doing this. We all have a fire to do good things with, not to do bad things with. The Good Lord puts that fire in our heart so we can treat each other with dignity."

But even working for paint and soda pop, Michael says he's getting rich on this job. "Oh, I'm getting rich, all right. I'm getting to work with kids and deal with them in a way that, as a police officer, you don't get that opportunity." That's right. When Michael is at his grown-up job, he's a cop.

And now this police officer artist is also a published author with a brand new book out which, of course, is just for kids. The plot according to Michael: "Audubon gets to learn why we have white alligators in my first book, which is entitled 'The White Alligator.'"

One young fan is 9-year-old August Stamper, a 3rd grader at Cedarcrest Southmoor Elementary School. She says, "If you look at the pictures, you just know the story already." That's the kind of critical acclaim that you can take to the bank. "The White Alligator" can be ordered from the publisher, Baker Printing in Baker. Their phone number is 775-0137.

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