Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cops Downtown

Robbery Downtown

This is nothing new. People get robbed downtown all the time. I've been robbed at gunpoint downtown. Nobody wants it to happen, but it does.

The discussion, at least according to the comments at the end of these stories, seems to always focus on the fact that there are plenty of police officers downtown, but all they focus on are underaged arrests and open containers.

This, in my experience, is fairly accurate. We often judge how busy we are compared to other bars partially by where the cops are hanging out on a given night. 3 to 5 officers will congregate outside the busiest bars throughout the night, and we'll know that if we're the bar the police are spending most of their night watching, then we're on the right track. That means we're the busiest. And while they're standing there watching the crowds on the sidewalk and the traffic going into and out of the bars, they'll snatch a few kids here and there out of the crowd and write them up for open containers and/or slap some handcuffs on the one's who are underaged.

This, as far as I can tell, shows to their superior officers that they're being productive at work and generating revenue for the city by writing citations.

The problem is, the shit that they're doing is hardly public safety. It's easy to find a drunk college kid stumble out of a bar with a half finished beer and write him a ticket that nets the city a quick $70. What about patrolling the mostly empty streets surrounding downtown, and dispersing the groups of thugs that hang around those areas just waiting for the lone intoxicated college kid to stagger by at 2:30am? It's a little more difficult to prove you prevented X number of robberies on a given night to your Sergeant or Lieutenant by patrolling dark side streets while simultaneously writing few to no citations versus the officer that camped out in front of Flannagan's and Firehouse from 12am to 2am and wrote a dozen open container citations and hauled 4 underaged drunk kids to jail.

But who's really being more productive and protecting the public?

So do we need officers downtown? Absolutely.

In my opinion, we should require the bars that are bunched together to hire a few off-duty officers on weekend nights to stand on the sidewalk and keep the peace among the college kids. That's more than enough to insure that young, underaged and drunk masses stay in line. For the rest of the uniformed patrol that are on bikes and are being paid by taxpayer money, get the drunk drivers off the roads, keep the drugs out of the bars and off the street corners, and make sure that students, visitors and the like aren't robbed at gunpoint when they try to head home at the end of the night.

But that's just my opinion.

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