More Uppity Cop, This Time With Civilian Outcry

Last March, a Portland, OR LEO decided to park his cruiser in a no parking zone outside of a restaurant in order to pick up his meal. An attorney inside the restaurant saw this happen and confronted the officer, who replied:

“If someone broke into your house, would you rather have the police be able to park in front of your house or have to park three blocks away and walk there?”

The attorney was rightly outraged that the officer was incapable of understanding the difference between responding to an emergency, and responding to hunger, and filed several complaints against the officer.

sigh…

Officers want our respect for the often dangerous job they do, but if they are unwilling to give us the same respect in return, all they will get is a grand public sneer. Here’s hoping that the Portland Department understands the problem and lets the officer enjoy his $450 in fines so as to remind the other officers to be respectful, and to win back a little public respect.

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9 Responses to “More Uppity Cop, This Time With Civilian Outcry”

  1. Bob@thenest Says:
    April 20th, 2008

    To me it depends on the circumstances.

    If he’s on lunch break and not subject to call, headed later with his pickup lunch to sit under a tree on his own time, I agree that he should follow the rules we all do and park appropriately.

    However, if he is still subject to call, as many are, and will have to throw that Styrofoam containner on the passenger side floor when the radio crackles to run code, I want him as close as possible to that car and all its contents so he can head my way immediately.

    I personally know of a situation where a law enforcement officer and his partner had just sat down to begin their meal when they got a call and quickly got up and the paid-for meals were left sitting there as they headed out the door. I’d bet someone on the receiving end of their services had no idea he blew their lunch money getting to them — that’s not the kind of thing cops tell civilians.

    I’m armed and intend to take care of myself as best possible, but I need the cavalry as soon as possible when I call. A handfull of magazines may not go far.

    To me the whole incident is not as cut and dry as many are making it out to be.

    ReplyReply
  2. MadRocketScientist Says:
    April 20th, 2008

    Bob,

    You are right, the officer might have still been on call, and parking nearby could have reduced his response time should he have gotten a call. Not all the facts are in the article.

    But I’d like to make three points:

    1) The officer could have politely explained that he was still on call and needed to be as close to his cruiser as he could, the answer he gave (albeit an answer whose only source of record is an attorney, so take it with a grain of salt) was one of “why am I explaining myself to you”.

    2) I’ve often heard tales of police and parking enforcement writing tickets to fire and ems crews for doing the exact same thing. While I don’t know that Portland makes a habit of it, I would not be surprised to hear that such a thing is done.

    3) Areas are generally marked “No Parking” for a reason, and in the article, it stated that there were a lot of construction projects happening so streets were marked No Parking most likely for safety reasons and to improve the flow of traffic. Unless there is some reason the officer was required to eat at that restaurant, I see no reason why he could not have gone somewhere else with more open parking, or with a drive through. If I want to eat somewhere that has bad parking, or no parking, I need to make a choice reagrding how much I want to eat there versus how much of a hassle it is going to be.

    The cop wanted to eat there, and he made a choice to break the law and use the excuse that he needs to be close to his cruiser in order to justify it. To me, it is just another case of an officer using the badge to skirt the hassles us normal folk have to deal with.

    Oh, one other thing, if Portland has a rule (& I’ve seen this in other towns) that Emergency Vehicles (whether responding or not) enjoy an exception to no parking, then this is all moot and this is actually a case of an attorney who needs an anal cranial extraction.

    ReplyReply
  3. Bob@thenest Says:
    April 21st, 2008

    So, despite a stated “might” and sentences that imply “maybe” and “if”, you chose to title it beginning with “Uppity Cop.”

    Interesting. Sounds like a pre-judged stance to me, but blogs are what they are, places for the authors to state their opinions and I like them anyway. ;-)

    ReplyReply
  4. Mad Rocket Scientist Says:
    April 21st, 2008

    Well, my source for this is the AP (I tried to find an official court document online, but came up empty), and the complainant is an attorney (who was probably still steamed about his parking ticket from the day before), but yeah, I have a bias whenever I hear of police assuming rights and privileges us common folk don’t get, even the little ones, like avoiding parking restrictions when not responding to a call.

    Case in point, when I go to my local grocery store, if the fire department is out doing their shopping, they park their fire truck at the far end of the parking lot and try to avoid being in the way.

    The police park in the fire lane.

    It’s the little things, the stupid crap like parking, that progress into the big ones, like only the police should carry weapons.

    Oh, and thanks for reading. I mean, if we can’t talk about such things like civilized folk, we are all doomed.

    ReplyReply
  5. Drumwaster Says:
    April 21st, 2008

    Admittedly, parking in a “No Parking” Zone is kind of a malum prohibitum offense (illegal only because there is a law prohibiting it), and the cop’s attitude of “why am I bothering to explain things to you?” is one of crappy customer service (which is how the cop should be looking at it), but just like the claims that marijuana is considered a “gateway drug” (while ignoring the REAL gateway drugs – nicotine, alcohol and caffeine), these “minor” infractions display an elitist attitude on the part of most police. Because they know that their fellow cops won’t do a gottdamn thing about said minor infractions, this leads to a slippage of personal ethics and self-discipline.

    Hell, why not smack this punk around for driving over 100 mph while under the influence of PCP (just like last time) and ignoring my commands? It’s not like anyone is watching…

    “One last time, Mr. King, step out of the car with your hands in the air!”

    Once again, quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    ReplyReply
  6. MadRocketScientist Says:
    April 21st, 2008

    Local report (likely the source of the AP report)

    ReplyReply
  7. Drumwaster Says:
    April 21st, 2008

    “Watching a basketball game”? Officer ought to pay the tickets and accept the reprimand and consider himself damned lucky.

    This is inexcusable.

    ReplyReply
  8. Bob@thenest Says:
    April 21st, 2008

    Heh. Slightly off topic, but if a law enforcement vehicle is parked in front of the nearby Wal-Mart, which I refuse to enter unless under spousal duress, the odds are that the officer is in there for one of the several hundred shoplifting complaints they have each month. I was flabbergasted when I read the statistics recently — can’t find the article right now, or I’d give you a link. At that rate they should give law enforcement a reserved spot backed into the front door. Too bad the Sonic food concession is on the other end of the building from the security office.

    Hopefully fire coverage should not be so necessary! ;-)
    And yes, I’ve noticed the same thing here — fire trucks tend to park out of the way, but I’ve always attributed that to them not wanting civies’ fingerprints on their nicely polished equipment. They must be really sad when they get back from a run and see those trucks so dirty and waterspotted, never mind a scratch. Gotta love those folks — my father-in-law was one in his younger years.

    ReplyReply
  9. MadRocketScientist Says:
    April 21st, 2008

    Uggh! Who goes Grocery shopping at Wal-Mart?

    Seriously though, the grocery store I go to, where the police use the fire lane, rarely do I find the officer dealing with a shoplifter (not that I haven’t seen it, it’s just rare) rather than picking out chops for dinner tonight.

    Again, if the unit is responding to a call from dispatch, rather than one from mother nature, he can park on the front steps for all I care. But if he is going to do it just to enjoy the convienence, then he is abusing his badge, even if just a little.

    It’s that whole “Great Power, Great Responsibility” thing we all learned on Mr. Spider-Man’s Neighborhood as kids.

    ReplyReply

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