Perhaps I’m just being utopic, but in my world, I expect police to know the laws, understand the intent of the law, and to be upstanding examples of how other motorists should behave. In the past two days, I’ve had two separate incidents that, unfortunately, had police shaking up my utopic view of the world.
I rode home via the East Bay Bike Path last night. As I was passing the Providence port area, there were two tugs out maneuvering a freighter into the dock. Since 9/11, any time a big ship is being maneuvered like this, there is now a police presence on the bike path. Sometimes it includes swat teams, other days like yesterday it involves a single cruiser. The cruiser yesterday felt it was within his rights to park on the bike path, covering the entire paved area. Uh… no… Last time I checked the bike path didn’t allow motorized vehicles, why don’t they send out bike cops? I know, crazy idea. Could they at least send out an officer who has some respect for the users of the bike trail and is willing to pull off onto the grass? I find the whole act a waste of taxpayers dollars. Seriously, what are they trying to prevent that this small show of force will actually achieve?
The second incident ocurred as I was riding into work this morning. As I was passing through Barrington, a police officer felt it was appropriate to park his/her cruiser on the sidewalk. The officer was nowhere to be seen, was not parked in front of a house, and the cruiser did not have it’s lights on as if the officer were responding to a call. In fact, my gut tells me it was a cruiser parked there to slow down traffic. Unfortunately, it also caused a child using the sidewalk to ride to school to get off and venture into the road and a pedestrian trying to walk on the sidewalk to also venture into the street. I’m sure glad the police were there to help these two.
I completely understand that police, at times, during the course of their work must park or drive places where normal cars should not go. However, this should not be the norm, it should not be done lightly, and it should never be done when they are not responding to an emergency. I’d be happy to have an officer comment on these observations and explain why such behavior makes sense.