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Office Delinko dreams the big dream of being a detective: we're guessing he has a vision board with pictures of Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlowe, and Miss Marple decorating his cubicle down at the station.
Because right now, he's just a police officer in Coconut Cove…and not much criminal activity goes down in Coconut Cove. Delinko is itching to slap some handcuffs on someone.
So when there's recurring vandalism on the construction site of a future Mother Paula's Pancake House, Delinko wants to be the one who cracks the case. He jumps at the chance to start round-the-clock surveillance on the property but ends up falling asleep due to an early alarm clock and lack of coffee.
Whoopsie-daisies. That little incident doesn't make Delinko look too good—he's put on desk duty. (Which is the police office equivalent of being given a time-out.)
But that doesn't deter him from driving by the construction site multiple times a day in hopes that he'll be the one to figure out what's going on. Delinko wants to impress the police department so badly that he even badgers Roy's dad (who works for the Department of Justice) to talk him up to the police sergeant.
We gotta give the guy points for determination.
And then a wrench gets thrown in his plan. For most of the book, Delinko is out to get the Mother Paula's vandals. Which is all fine and good when he thinks that the mysterious hooligans are the real criminals. He is completely unaware that Mullet Fingers is messing with the construction site in order to save the burrowing owls.
But when the police officer finally realizes the truth, he joins rank with Mullet Fingers and Roy at the groundbreaking ceremony turned demonstration. In fact, Delinko helps the gang by telling a teeny, tiny little bit of a lie to Chuck Muckle when he checks to see if the snakes in the bucket are real (spoiler alert: they're not).
Now, there are two ways of looking at Delinko's actions here.
One, he's totally a flip-flopper by changing sides. At first he wants to catch the vandals and then all of a sudden he's teaming up with them.
But on the other hand, he remains true to himself and his conscience. From the start we know that Delinko wants to be a good guy and keep criminals off the streets. And when he realizes the bad guys are actually Mother Paula's, he goes with his gut and stands up for the burrowing owls.