Andy was given a ticket at Fun Spot yesterday, for not wearing “safety pads.” He was wearing a helmet, but when his girlfriend, Janelle, showed up without one, two cops showed up. He told her to meet him outside the park so that she wouldn’t get hassled. He tried to slowly ride his bike between the two cops who were approaching the park, but hadn’t yet asked to speak with him. As he tried to squeeze by them, they grabbed him and started accusing him of trying to flee.
Andy and Janelle explained that he was merely trying to get by to come and see his girlfriend. Concerned about looking stupid, the cops proceeded to write Andy a ticket for not wearing pads, and after a heated discussion, implored all of us to follow up in the matter. His exact words were, “I would love for you to make a complaint to Parks and Rec, or the Department.”
Now, I think we all know that they are serious about helmets at the new park, and I am sure that over time things will ease up. Personally I never found wearing a helmet that big a deal, and Crazy Chris is talking about trying to get some nice helmets donated to keep at the park. However, this is not a case of enforcing the oft-warned-about helmet law.
This is one of the nicest guys I know, who goes to work all day and comes to the park – a park that he volunteered his precious weekends to build – only to get harassed. Asked whether or not they were going to give us all tickets for not wearing pads, the cop asked if I wanted one, “because he could give it.” Janelle reminded them that they are here to “Serve and Protect,” not act like high school bullies trying to save face when they make a stupid mistake.
Personally, I didn’t donate my weekends to the Park so that the police could keep us corralled in one place and get shaken down $120 a time to increase the city’s revenue in these tough economic times.
So, if you were there and want to make a complaint, lets take the officers’ advice and let them know what we thought about the situation. The officer who wrote the ticket was Officer Clark (badge #183), and his buddy who invited us to make a complaint was #143.
Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation
809 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Santa Cruz Police Department
155 Center St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060