In the last few weeks in Seattle I have heard two different news stories about how the Seattle police have dropped the ball on investigating a crime. In one case, a woman was groped by a man as she walked into a store, and resolved that, if she saw him again, she would call him out on his bad behavior. She did in fact see him on her way out of the store, apparently waiting for other women to grope, and she took his picture with her phone and walked to the nearest police station to report his pervy actions. The police there were unmoved, and when the woman offered to show them a photo of the man who had grabbed her, they said a description would be enough. She got a pretty strong impression that they had no intention of following up on this violation, so she tweeted not only the photo of the man who had groped her, but also a few choice words about the police who had been so cavalier about not protecting and not serving. Unfortunately for them, the groper turned out to be a level-3 sex offender on the loose, and since the woman’s tweet about a dozen other women have come forward because they were also assaulted by this man (same area, same M.O.). In the end, a detective recognized the man from the tweet and scooped him up, but not before the Seattle PD got a big black eye and the sex offender got a lot of handfuls of women…
A few days ago I heard another story similar to this one. Again the Seattle PD was asked for help, again they were lukewarm, and again they dropped the ball. If all I knew of the Seattle police was what I heard on the radio I would be pretty afraid to live in Seattle.
But in real life, I’ve had a few interactions with the Seattle PD and all of them have been positive. They have always been polite and courteous, and always gone out of their way to be more helpful than they needed to be in a given situation. I have met police in completely neutral situations (a neighbor called them when someone was stealing mail from my mailbox, so they came to my front door to chat with me), in very volatile situations (at a political rally where tensions were high and things could very easily have been nasty or unpleasant), and with a friend who is a prosecutor (where, granted, maybe they were nice to me because I was with someone who was their buddy). I have been in courts and police stations (not as the accused this time- hurray for Seattle!) and at no time did I ever see anyone being treated in any way other than dignified (even the dirtbags).
This is not to say that I doubt the stories I heard on the news. I am certain that those things really happened; there would be no reason to make up any detail of those stories. I’m not saying that there aren’t burnt out people in every profession. But in an age where, “If it bleeds, it leads,” and we always hear about the downside of everything and the scummy side of everything, I just wanted to give a shout out to the cops here and say, Nice job!”.
We live close enough to the sketchy area in Seattle that we hear gunshots on a fairly regular basis. And since I’m not the one who is out there busting up the gangs, or responding to auto accidents or helping people in need, I can safely assume it is the police who are handling all of that so I can sit comfortably at home in my jammies enjoying my tea. Even if there are a few legitimate cases of folks who have dropped the ball (and I don’t want to minimize the experience of the people who suffered because of that), overall, I would give high marks to the police in my new home town. They have a really tough job and they get a lot of grief and aggravation- often for a lot less pay than they deserve. I think it is very en vogue to dump on cops these days and act as if they are some loose cannons out wild in the world just waiting to prey on innocent people. I just want to be one person who can stand up and say that is not my experience.
So, kudos to the Seattle PD. Keep on keepin on 🙂