You’ve seen police officers in souped-up sports cars, riding along on mountain bikes, and even tooling around on Segways, but have you ever seen a cop on a skateboard? Haha, what is this, a lame joke? Nope, it’s the Green Bay Police Department, as Officer Joel Zwicky has transformed his childhood (and adulthood) love of skateboarding into part of his job to become known to locals as “The Skateboarding Cop.” If anything, it’s clear that people in Green Bay need to work on more clever nicknames.
According to ABC News, Zwicky got the idea two years ago when he approached his captain about patrolling on a custom deck, because he believed it would make him seem less intimidating and threatening to citizens. He felt that pulling up on some punk kids and typical no-gooders in his unmarked Dodge Charger would make him look like the sheriff of Squaresville, and on top of it all, his fellow skateboarders don’t exactly see eye-to-eye with John Q. Law.
“Being in the squad car all day, it’s kind of like a barrier to the public and it can be intimidating to come up and talk to us … but when I go skating past them, even if it’s, ‘What the heck is that?’ or ‘What are you doing?’ … then all of a sudden we’re both smiling and we can talk and they can tell me their concerns,” Zwicky said.
He added: “It’s really great at opening up doors as far as communication with people and beyond that it really, kind of, fits a niche that hasn’t been addressed in police work.” (Via ABC News)
Sure, it sounds more like a bit out of Reno 911!, but Zwicky and Captain Bill Galvin seem to think it’s working, because it’s making the locals smile. Especially the ladies, am I right, Officer Hunky?
“I think it’s very clever and unique. I see a lot of teens on the trail and I think (the skateboard) would give him a lot of credibility with teens who might be at risk,” Aubry said.
Lauren Stefonek, 21, and Isabella Sipes, 19, both of Green Bay, inline skate every day on the trail, but until last week they hadn’t seen Zwicky on his long board. They stopped to chat.
“We were like, hey, that’s a skateboard. It looks fun,” said Stefonek. “It’s unusual, but I think it will be helpful.” (Via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
As some of the more astute and street-wise commenters on the Journal-Sentinel’s feature about Zwicky pointed out, it’s not really difficult for a criminal to outrun a skateboarding cop, because skateboards don’t work on grass. Also, you could make the case that this is just a silly PR stunt that puts more pressure on the department’s other officers while Zwicky gets all the attention. But do you guys want to sit around and debate semantics or do you want to see the Skateboarding Cop shred the mean streets of Green Bay?
(H/T to law-abiding citizen JD)