|Soon to be seen all over non-touristy Chicago|
Yet the idea that special patrols in the city’s most street gang-infested neighborhoods will be put on bicycles just creates an image that might work against any such police efforts.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL made the announcement last week, saying that about one-third of the 360 officers assigned to units that patrol the heavy-gang areas have already been issued bicycles and trained how to handle themselves in potentially-hazardous situations.
But what happens the first time that a gang situation, which is all about intimidation, occurs and a police officer arrives at the scene while wearing his bicycle helmet and those short pants that bike riders would wear?
It’s about as unintimidating a sight as we could be asked to see. I don’t know if we’d have gang members laughing their tushes off, or what.
But we’d definitely be seeing a situation where an officer would be at a disadvantage – primarily because the whole idea of a cop on a bike is that he’s not bogged down with all the gear that might come in necessary in a potentially-violent situation.
THE WHOLE IDEA of police on bicycles can work at public events or in certain situations because they create the illusion that police are on hand, without creating an image that is too intimidating.
You don’t want to turn something like “Taste of Chicago” into a “police state” atmosphere! And Chicago definitely didn’t want to have an overbearing police impression (although it wanted the force of one) back when the whole NATO gathering in Chicago took place.
While I’m not convinced that creating a “police state” atmosphere in the Englewood neighborhood is the solution either (you’ll just create more resentment amongst the people who live there), it definitely takes more of a sense of intimidation to grab attention in certain neighborhoods.
I just don’t buy into the line of logic that Emanuel is offering up to justify this change.
WHICH IS THAT having more officers on foot in the neighborhoods will let people living there get to know the police better. And will make them more trustful of the police to the degree that they may have faith in law enforcement to protect them from the gang members.
Who get most of their power these days from the perception that they’re more powerful than the police! It certainly isn’t that they’re more well-liked than the police. People know who it is that is ripping them off and holding back their neighborhoods from ever amounting to much.
A cop on a bike would have greater maneuverability than officers in a squad car, particularly when chasing a person on foot who may try to dart and dodge into obscure corners of a given neighborhood.
Perhaps. But somehow, I think a gang member would be more intimidated by the sight of the squad car.
NOW I DOUBT that da mare is about to be influenced by this commentary. We probably will get more cops on bikes in the future.
I’m just curious to know what happens if a police officer is caught in public riding his bicycle without wearing his helmet. Will he get some sort of discipline? Because it is an offense that leads to unsafe conditions.
And what happens if the same gangbangers whom a police officer on bike is trying to catch wind up snatching his bicycle? Will being able to ride around on a city-owned bicycle become some sort of perverse status symbol for these people?
Or are we going to get our court system loaded up in the future with a backlog of cases of Grand Theft, Bicycle?