On Thanking Law Enforcement For Some Of The Thankless Work They Do For Our Community

by Travis Mateer

I’ve had a few opportunities to thank cops the last few days because they deal with homelessness in ways the general public is pretty clueless about.

For example, to maintain the West Broadway island (which was recently reopened), I witnessed law enforcement patrolling the area, on foot, last Thursday. I made a few notes in my journal while sitting on the California St. bridge, then packed up my shit to leave. As I was getting ready to go, a cop was walking down the bridge. I asked the officer if he knew about the history of the bridge, specifically the violent death of Forrest “Clay” Salcido.

Not only did the officer know that Clay Salicido was stomped to death on the bridge by two drunk teenagers, he was also one of the responding officers to the brutal scene.

I thanked the officer for the work he does for our community.

On Saturday I was heading to the market to meet my family when I noticed two police cruisers near my studio. As I was walking by, I overheard one officer tell the other officer about an apple-throwing incident in which someone was nailed in the forehead. Since they were loading a cart filled to the brim with someone’s belongings, it was an easy assumption to make it involved a homeless person.

I thanked the officers for the work they do for our community.

Finally, on Saturday night, a non-officer involved incident reminded me what we face as a community when it comes to dangerous drugs, like meth.

I was walking around late at night, taking in my surroundings, when I saw a former client I recognized. He was in such a hurry he was going to leave some little chunks of crystal meth behind on the concrete steps where he had been sitting. I implored him to take the meth with him, lest some squirrel comes across it, tweaking itself into a rabid mess.

While he scooped up his meth I asked him some questions and, surprisingly, he answered them.

For more on that interaction, though, you’ll have to tune in to next week’s episode of my podcast, Zoom Town.

Thanks for reading, and have a safe and enjoyable Sunday!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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