Write – Out
When I went to write down this speech, I sat down and googled advocacy. What came to mind, was making a positive lasting change in my community. Even though I knew what advocacy meant, I still didn’t know what I personally wanted to advocate for. So I went to the speaking center and one of the coaches, Sameer, asked me if you could change one thing in the world tomorrow what would it be? The one thing that came to mind was police brutality. However, instead of talking about the image that law enforcement has about us and their respective reputation. I want to discuss our perspective of law enforcement, particularly in their mode of transportation.
In my opinion the image of law enforcement varies based on who you are, your location and experiences you have had with them. What I mean by this is simple. For example, if you are in a good neighborhood and see a cop on bike, you see that cop as a companion or friendly figure who is patrolling, compared to people in a bad neighborhood, they would typically view cops as enemies or people who are after them because color race and where they live. The image of law enforcement is something that will always vary depending on situation at hand. Depending on how police officers look, the vehicle they are using, as well as the neighborhood they are in can really make a difference in how they are perceived.
So how does this relate to bicycles? Police officers that occupy patrol vehicles are viewed significantly different than policemen who patrol on bicycles. Due to the stereotype of police officers being prejudiced citizens and minorities are generally uncomfortable and frightened at the sight of police cars. On the top of the police car the siren and bright flashing colors of red, white, and blue are supposed to represent America and our freedom. However, when the patrol car is behind you flashing the sirens, freedom is by far the last thing on your mind. From the perspective of civilians especially in urban areas, the police patrol car is viewed as an active predator that is hungry for prey. On the other hand, police officers patrol on bikes are viewed differently than those in a car. This is due to the fact that we can physically see them walking and riding around just like civilians, making them more approachable and less intimidating. Patrol cars to normal civilian cars relate the same as shark to fish in the ocean.
When bikes come to mind we tend to envision a person exercising or enjoying a leisure ride through a park. When I see an officer approaching me on a bike my first reaction is not associated with fear because the image of the bike is familiar to me. A simple symbol of a bicycle can easily change the perception in how we see law enforcement. Reshaping the image of law enforcement will improve officer citizen interaction which will reduce the excessive force used by law enforcement. With that said, law enforcement must take action in bettering their image to the people for their sole purpose is to protect its citizens not be against them.