Props to the Dancing Cop

Thanks to all forwarded the email from Chief Lanier:

“Please take a look at the below video link which shows an MPD foot beat officer interacting with teenage girls on her beat. This video is indicative of the interactions that occur everyday throughout the city. Who do you think won this dance off?”

29 Comment

  • This got picked up by the Daily Mail in the UK. That means it will be on the Today Show and GMA tomorrow morning. Those shows lift a lot of their filler content from the Daily Mail.

  • When people say they want more beat cops, I think this is what they have in mind: a public servant interacting with the community s/he serves in a constructive way. Prop to the cop.

    • Yep, what you said. Can’t hurt for cops to show the public that they see them as people, and that they are people too. Walking a beat would accomplish that. I think this excuse about how cops need to get to crimes more quickly is disingenuous. You could have separate duties. Beat cops for community engagement and ear-to-the-ground type policing, and car cops for quick response, and neither one expected to do the other job that day, just like you don’t expect a cop on desk duty to lock up the station and mount up when a call comes in.

  • The cop definitely lost that dance-off, but that’s a valiant effort on her part! Here’s an idea for Chief Lanier – force all cops pulled off street duty to take dancing lessons in their time off. This could have multi-pronged benefits: improve fitness, improve morale, improve public relations, and most importantly, up the dancing skills of the task force. Call it the “Think on your feet” initiative.

  • This is really cute! I was once running in Adams Morgan and ran past a cop on a segway. Under my breath I said, “Race.” He took my challenge and beat me to the end of the block handily. Laughs all around!

  • I think society wins in general, but neither of the dancers win. It mostly looks like stuffy chicken dance versus a seizure.

  • In the grand scheme of things, the cop did. She achieved her goals of dispersing the group in a peaceful and peacable manner.

    In the grand scheme of things, the girls did. She outdanced a cop. (And didn’t get into trouble, but that might not have been one of her explicit goals.)

    Win all around.

  • Let’s not forget that the cop probably had an extra 40 lbs of gear on her!

  • Blithe

    This is awesome! A wonderful example of community policing! Major props to the cop AND the kid(s). I think the kid was the better dancer, but I’d give the edge to the cop for dancing in the uniform with all the gear. When things like this happen in our neighborhoods, we all win. Yay!
    . Thanks PoP for posting this!

  • It is definitely funny video. I don’t have a problem with the fact the cop did this. But I would not join the bandwagon that seems to be of the mindset that this is what cops NEED to be doing. Cops can treat people with respect and that should be enough to receive respect in return. Police shouldn’t be expect to entertain with dances or vaudeville to deserve respect.

    But really kids/teens should just listen to what the cops ask them to do. Never once did I or any of my friends ignore or talk back to the police. And we definitely never cussed the police. We always complied with what they asked in that moment. Now, if they said “Stop doing XYZ” we definitely stopped doing it immediately that second and dispersed. But it didn’t mean we’d never do it again. In some cases we of course resumed doing it an hour or a week later…

    • what’s not given here is the full context of what occurred. it was earlier this week down by the waterfront when 2 groups of teens arguing about something. supposedly there was a fight. when the cops came to break it up, they didn’t start pulling out their guns, tackling, screaming, barrel rolling, throwing people to the floor, etc. — the cop chose to defuse a potentially bad situation by dancing. win-win all around. no one is suggesting that cops have to dance or otherwise “entertain” the public, but the cops do have to respect (and serve) the public. this happens much less when cops interact with communities of color compared to white ppl, so it’s nice to see a cop use this technique (or anything that doesn’t involve violence/intimidation) to serve the greater good.

    • No one said that this (dancing) is “what cops NEED to be doing.” Everyone said that we just need cops interacting on a human level.

    • Blithe

      You’re exactly right about one thing: “Cops can treat people with respect and that should be enough to receive respect in return”. What I think is wonderful about this video is that it does, indeed, show mutual respect — between a cop and a teenager. It also, as kt pointed out, was a brilliant, respectful, non-violent way to defuse a potentially violent, ugly situation without turning it into a power struggle. So major props to the cop, and the teenager, and the other teens in the group — who all treated and responded to each other with respect as human beings.
      – Chimbo, I have a question for you: What do you think happens when that respect link is broken? You wrote about how you and your friends responded to the police that you encountered. I’d like to hear about the other side, the more important side: which is how the large, armed, protected by the forces of authority police treated you. If your experience doesn’t include abuses of authority and power, and of being treated less than humanely and less than humanly, than I hope you count yourself as being lucky — and realize that that is quite different from the experiences that many of us have had.
      – I’ve been fortunate to work with cops and kids in programs designed to build mutual respect and trust. When it works well, it helps to build safer, more comfortable communities for all of us.

      • I don’t view the video as an exercise in mutual respect. I view it as vaudeville with the purpose of deescalating a situation. Which is fine if that’s how the officer wanted to handle it. But personally all I would ask of the an officer to ‘show respect’ is to remain calm and use respectful language when communicating their directive. From there the citizens should comply…

        In all my years growing up while I had at times seen my peers regrettably be mouthy to teachers and guidance counselors on occasion I never once saw anyone disobey or mouth off on a cop (other than on TV shows). Yet I move into the inner city a few years ago and I’ve witnessed teens tell cops to ‘shut the eff up’ and similar profanities on numerous occasions.

        I know some apologists will attempt to explain away this lack of respect towards police as being based of how they view police. Try to make it the police’s fault. But these kids have little respect for society in general. I’ve never seen so many people litter when they are 15 feet away from a trash can.

        • Blithe

          My question to you was: how did the police treat you. Since you didn’t answer that, despite your comments about “apologists” and “fault”, and your view of “these kids”, it means that you’ve chosen to share a lot about your assumptions about the community that you moved into, and very little about your own assumptions based on your experiences in the community that you moved from.

          • You’re full of it if you think the average interaction with a police officer includes “abuse or power”. It certainly doesn’t take luck in america to have a positive or neutral experience with the police. People who understand that they shouldn’t escalate with the the police rarely get escalated back. De-escalation is a two way street.

            To say abuse is the status quo is propaganda. Like this meme that compares Dylan Roof getting burger king versus someone who resisted arrest getting tackled to the ground. Roof, the piece of crap that he is, surrendered to the police when they tracked him down. You comply with the police your interaction is going to be way better than if you hurl expletives at them or try to fight them.

          • Blithe

            !. please don’t misquote me. I never used the word “average”. Or “status quo”. So your outrage is with yourself — or maybe those voices in your head.
            2. You STILL haven’t answered my question about your own experiences. So I’m guessing at this point it’s not worth my checking back.

          • You used the words “count yourself as being lucky”. Which would imply that it is rare to receive anything but hostile police response unless you are lucky.

            As for you asinine question. Police dealt with my friends and I stubbornly at times making up rules that didn’t exist. Like claiming we couldn’t use the school softball field when school wasn’t in session. I even spent a morning in a jail cell for speeding when I was 18 until my dad picked me up. Speeding, reckless or otherwise, usually doesn’t warrant that. But I never lost my cool. I respected authority. I honestly couldn’t have even imagined not respected the polices authority because I couldn’t see any way whatsoever that would be anything but trouble. However kids and some others today apparently think “why don’t I just tell the officer to fuck off while I have my friend film the officer and hopefully bait him into something I can make go viral…”

            Look, I have friends who are DCPS teachers and one who is a school counselor. I’ve heard infinitely more horror stories about today’s DC youth than there has been viral police abuse stories in the media.

          • Blithe

            Thank you for answering my question. I appreciate having a context for your comments.

        • Totally agree. The dynamic you describe so well makes me feel like I’m going to lose my mind when it’s not scaring me half to death.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    I was home sick yesterday, and it actually showed up on the Meredith Veira show yesterday!

  • Awesome job officer!

Comments are closed.