Today I was driving back home and I got off of the Hopple St. Exit here in Cincinnati. I stopped at the red light and noticed something very different. I’m used to stopping at the light looking to my left and seeing a person standing holding a sign asking for food, money or work. I’ve seen a lot of food and money get handed out of car windows to the various people who frequent this particular intersection. Today, instead of a person with a cardboard sign, there stood a uniformed cincinnati police officer.
Because it was warm out I was able to hear part of the conversation that occured between the officer and another driver. The driver inquired to why the officer was standing there, to which the officer replied that he was standing there to prevent people from standing on the corner asking for money. I did not hear what exactly the driver said next but it sounded a bit angry. The officer then replied that the people who stand on the corner are “all doped up”, and he would support them if they “got off the dope”. The driver inaudible again replied and the officer retorted “I don’t have anything better to do until, 4:30 when I get off, unless this radio goes off and tells me otherwise!”
I would like to say:
Exuse me Officer,
Not everyone on the corner is “doped up” (also is this the 90’s…doped, really?!?). If people choose to contribute to these individuals standing on the corner so be it, it’s their money not yours and remember their money also pays your salary. Additionally, you do have better things to do with taxpayer time. Here is a list of 8 things* to get you started for your convience:
- Stand on the corner and hold a sign that reminds drivers to not text and drive
- Stand on the corner and hold a sign that reminds people to wear their seat belts.
- Direct traffic because that intersection is a nightmare.
- Stand on the corner and ask drivers not to contribute to noise pollution (aka turn your music down)
- Volunteer when you do not have a call (for example free store food bank can always use an extra hand in the front bay where you could easily come and go as you need to)
- Pick up litter on the side of the road.
- Go door to door to get to know your beat. so that way you do not see the people and the people do not see you as a threat, but instead see each other as neighbors looking out for each other.
- Unthreatenly walk in and out of gas stations, resturants, and stores and strike up conversations to remind people of your presence in society as someone that is not always dealing with people precieved as criminals.
Thanks and have a nice day!
*It should be noted that several of these options are available to anyone who needs something better to do than be a bigot.