Police increase weekend pestilence

I hate Sublime. Let me rephrase that: I hate what they have come to represent. Having opened for Badfish on various occasions, the most difficult part of any such performance is not vomiting all over myself when every single audience member puts a middle finger in the air screaming, “one eight seven on a m****rf***ing cop.” The number 187 is slang for murder, stemming from Section 187 of the California State Penal Code. Apparently I’m the only one at these orgies who seems remotely disturbed by the content of such sing-a-longs. Even here, in white, middle/upper class Vermont, calls of “f**k the police” can still be heard floating freely from windows of frat houses, dorm rooms and the unoppressed underground of a predominately white, privileged college campus. I’m not one to denounce the worth of the police so quickly, but after this weekend’s showcase of callow constabularies, my faith in brother blue is a bit shaken. Having myself received the $800 ticket awarded to those guilty of public urination in the state of Pennsylvania, I can sympathize. After all, when you gotta go you gotta go. But I am not a police officer. By the same token, I suppose I’m in no position to judge whether or not looking for subjects behind the zipper of your pants is generally thought of as exemplary police work. If he thought he saw fire, he should have spoken up and called the fire department: A fire hose is much more efficient at dealing with such matters. This was bad enough — an undercover cop relieving himself on Tri Delta property — but like I said, accidents happen; any number of extraneous variables could have been at work resulting in the misdemeanor we have before us. But to add insult to immaturity, an outright refusal to give his badge number? Exactly how much authority does the role of plainclothes police officer carry with it? Was he just trying to fit in? Trying to make his badge stand out a little less by upholding the infantilism of the stereotypical wasted college kid? Let’s see, peeing in public: check. Piss-poor excuse making: check. Refusal to acknowledge mistake: check. Running away from castigation: check. Sounds like he meets the qualifications to me. Students need to know that police services are here to help — with more than just watering their plants. In an environment where authority is already unpopular and the upside of law enforcement is often taken for granted, police need to prove that they are here to protect and serve. Breaking up parties should not be a sport, nor should it be a municipal fundraiser; it should be done out of concern for students’ safety, the safety theoretically at risk when these policies are broken. While it may make a nice headline to see police weekend work at an all-time high, at what cost is this increased patrol coming and for what reasons? Is it simply that there is more partying on campus? Or has it more to do with surmounting a quick dowry for the Burlington Police Department? Increased police pressure did anything but clean up the city this past weekend. With innocent civilians being pepper-sprayed and public property at risk of degradation, the only example being set is one of recklessness. Police need to learn to control themselves if they hope to establish themselves as a positive and protective presence in the community.