Flubug General Hospital – Legendary police artist, “Ferg” Ricketts has died of complications from restless leg syndrome. He was 71. Ricketts is survived by his wife, Gulliver, and a hairless dachshund he rescued when the Eunice Animal Control Center burnt down. Services will be held at the Jahweh Church of Interstellar Disciples this Sunday.
Ricketts had a long and colorful career at the Flubug Police Department. He began as a ventriloquist, snaring schizophrenics during questioning with an uncanny ability to project his voice. In 1955 he entered a drawing at the Flubug PD booth at the Summerfest Festival and won first prize. That landed him a job as Sketch Artist which he held until his retirement in 2009.
“Ferg” was loved by all who knew him. But he was not without detractors. Critics complained that his sketches were crude, almost primitive, and barely recognizable as human faces, much less the suspects they meant to portray. Others pointed to the fact that no suspects had ever been caught as a result of his sketches, a fact that plagued Ricketts until his death.
But it was his sketches of masked suspects that drew the harshest criticism. Victims, many waiting years for justice, claimed his use of masks – something of a trademark for Ricketts – were nothing more than a bogus attempt to hide the fact he couldn’t draw and negated the whole purpose of a police sketch.
But “Ferg” always took criticism in stride. Accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Flubug Policeman’s Ball in 2007, he made light of his lack of formal training. “A lot of people ask how I got a job as a sketch artist, and I tell ’em: Catch you boss having sex with a minor and there’s no job that isn’t available!”
Rickett’s work will be on display through July 31st at the Overmeyer Historical Society.