“A lot of our guys would feed him and pet him, and he would eat out of our hand and that kind of thing,” says Commander Tom Robinson of the Reno Police Department. He’s talking about a crow named Alfred that was known to hang around the department’s motor-pool. He even followed their patrol cars to different downtown locations.
Alfred was raised from a chick by a woman named Margo Mulvihill. She says he’d fallen from a nest during a winter storm so she nursed back to health at her home, just blocks from the police station. She says she often saw officers stop to feed or pet the bird, sometimes giving Alfred a ride on a patrol car. But even Margo will tell you Alfred could be mischievous. Recently he'd become more aggressive, pecking at officers, and his habit of stealing items from their cars raised bigger concerns.
“We started getting concerned that he might start taking evidence,” says Robinson “and of course we can't have that happen.” Earlier this week, after Alfred got trapped in a patrol car, the department called wildlife services to have him taken away. When the bird hadn't returned after a couple of days, Margo tried to track him down only to find Alfred had been exterminated.
Now Margo tends her garden without her companion filled with mixed emotions about the loss of a pet that she thought bonded her with police and the community. She says she doesn't blame them for what happened, but wishes it had been handled differently.