The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Police officers should be better utilized

Although my dislike of the boys in blue isn’t necessarily as strong as the likes of, say, Tupac Shakur, I’ve truly never been a fan of the police or the ways in which they operate. Eau Claire in particular is no exception.

As much as I hate the sight of a police officer dangerously tailgating students around campus at night or busting harmless college students for non-violent crimes, I don’t think there’s any use in generalizing by writing off all cops as bad news.

After all, campus doesn’t look like it will be shifting to any sort of anarchic system any time soon — obviously the police are here to stay.

Sure, police can be annoying, especially those with limited amounts of crime to handle such as our own, but instead of alienating yourself from those who are accountable for service and protection, I think it’s useful to experiment by finding out what it means for them to serve you.

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In other words, challenge yourself by challenging them.

By challenging them, I don’t mean pressing your luck or breaking laws in their presence, I mean looking for ways they can serve you, and potentially build a relationship with those who, realistically speaking, we should probably all know slightly better.

As an example, I was walking through the parking lot adjacent to Hibbard the other night on my way to visit a friend, when I saw the usual patrol car waiting on traffic offenses.

Walking by his car, the guy looked rightfully bored, and unsatisfied with his work. Granted I wasn’t totally sure where I was headed, I’m sure I could have found my way on my own.

But instead of walking by, muttering contemptuous things to myself as I’m sure many of us do when crossing paths with these folks, I decided to turn around and say hello, asking for directions in the process.

It seems like a quirky, old-fashioned thing to do. But that’s exactly what I don’t care for about the relationship between civilians and police, who are explicitly accountable for being trustworthy.

I could have taken to my phone’s GPS, but why not stop to say hello? Police should be approachable, right?

In more ways than one, I think I was taken aback by how off-guard the guy seemed to be caught by my casually approaching him.
Regardless of how shockingly unfamiliar the encounter felt, the cop was prompt and helpful in giving me directions, and generally friendly after letting his guard down a bit.

My point in making an effort to include the officer in my walk isn’t necessarily to pin him as obligated to help me with something as petty as directions, but rather just to make an effort to add some visibility to our relationship.

Instead of looking at police officers through their barely-visible tinted windows, don’t be afraid to approach them and ask for a favor now and then. After all, it’s their duty to serve you.

As an officer of the law, cops should be held accountable for the position they signed up to serve.

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Police officers should be better utilized