Because of a few isolated incidences of violence by cops in big cities like New York and Philadelphia lately, police forces have had to start spending a lot more money on public relations people. They've been under heat from everyone, which is ironic when most people have been used to looking at police actions from the opposite perspective. But while there are always a few bad apples on the force, it is a very noble cause to want to serve a people who always look at you sideways. I once ran into a cop -- to be more exact, five of them -- who were going to arrest me for playing my clarinet on a rooftop downtown. But once they heard me play, they let me off with nothing more than a "verbal warning." Now, whether I'm any good or not has nothing to do with the situation; what counts is that those guys were people doing their jobs, not robots ruling with iron fists. So next time you get pulled over for speeding, think about what it must be like to be in their shoes.
Neighborhood: Pine Cliffs
What is your most memorable run-in with a cop? I was driving to California and got pulled over at, like, 3:30 in the morning on deserted Interstate 5. I was probably going 15 miles over the speed limit, got pulled over, and I had three sleeping kids in the back of the van. The police officer came up and gave me a ticket and the kids woke up in the process; it was just a nightmare.
How many people do you know who have been harassed by cops? I've worked with high school kids for the last 12 years and I've heard some of them say that they've been harassed by police. But you always kind of wonder who harassed who to begin with. So I don't think I really know anybody that's been harassed by police.
What's the nicest thing a cop ever did to help you? The nicest thing that a police officer's done has been being nice to my kids and helping them. Giving them tours of their cars and things like that.
Are there more good cops or bad cops? I think there's way more good cops.
What's your all-time favorite cop show? I like this new one: Third Watch.
What is your most memorable run-in with a cop? It was probably when I was a little kid. I was about four years old, and my brother got lost, and the police found him.
How many people do you know who have been harassed by cops? I know many people who have alleged to have been harassed by cops.
What's the nicest thing a cop ever did to help you? Find my little brother.
Are there more bad cops or good cops? In my experience I'd say there are probably more good cops than bad cops. Although I don't deny that there are some bad cops out there, probably.
What's your all-time favorite cop show? Hill Street Blues.
Neighborhood: Holland Park
What is your most memorable run-in with a cop? When I was driving a cab in Denver. There was an open call about two blocks away. Trouble is it was downtown and there were three stoplights to get to this call. And of course, fate intervened and the police pulled me over and I acted very stupid and he let me go.
How many people do you know who have been harassed by cops? Probably a large percentage of the people I know.
What's the nicest thing a cop ever did to help you? There's nothing that I can think of that didn't involve suspicion-intention dealing with them.
Are there more good cops or bad cops? I say there are more good cops. They're just human and subject to human frailties.
What's your all time favorite cop show? Probably Police Squad.
-- Matthew Fullen