I’ve been having all sorts of internal struggles with my feelings about cops lately. Part of me is holding onto my long-held distrust of them and my feelings that they just “don’t get” cyclists and therefore treat us with negative bias. I’ve had my confrontations with them on Critical Mass and have generally not cared much for them in the past.
But another part of me says maybe it’s time to bury the hatchet. As I’ve talked directly with them and with other people in the bike community whose opinions I respect, I’m starting to think they might make better friends than foes.
In case you haven’t noticed, the cops have been doing great things for the bike community lately, real “extending the olive branch” kind of stuff. To learn more about some of them, read this recent comment by PDOT employee and traffic safety guru Greg Raisman.
So tomorrow I’m meeting with Bill Sinnott. Bill is the Commander (head cheese) of the Traffic Division of the Portland Police Bureau. I called him on Friday to introduce him to my site and ask about his undercover bike missions. We talked about all sorts of stuff. He said a lot of positive things (believe me, I was analyzing his words!) and I actually think there’s a chance that someday he and/or one of his officers will start commenting or even contribute some content to this site. That would be very cool.
Getting the cops’ perspective on certain issues could be very productive. Sort of like how I posted this letter from a truck driver’s perspective over the summer.
But that’s down the road. For now, we thought we’d just meet and talk. Sinnott said he would grab another officer and give me some time to ask questions…sort of like an interview, and that’s where I need your help.
If you could sit down with the cops and ask them a question, what would it be?