Boulder Police Officer Jenny Paddock acknowledges that different police officers take different approaches to the homeless and writing tickets for camping or trespassing, but much depends on their behaviors toward law enforcement as well.
Those who are like Dwarf are likely to fare better.
“They can get off on the wrong foot with me if they come to town with a bad attitude,” she says. “If you behave yourself and follow the rules, you’re not going to get any problems from us.”
When it comes to the homeless, her primary motivation is not to write tickets but to make sure the most vulnerable among them are not putting their lives in danger, Paddock says.
“I don’t want somebody freezing to death on my watch,” she says, adding that she’ll check to make sure there aren’t any homeless people “with their boots off in the bandshell, freezing.”
Chris Mitchell of Friends Encouraging Eating Daily agrees that officers’ approaches vary, noting that one cop referred to a dead homeless guy as a “bumcicle.”
But other times, he says, police call on Dwarf and other homeless people to help keep an eye out for trouble. Once, he says, after being notified by the cops that a transient sexual predator had come to town, some homeless guys “creeked” the individual — threw him into Boulder Creek and told him to get out of town.
Another time, Mitchell says, some kids were selling cocaine in the park.
“They got run out not by the cops but by the homeless community, because we’ve got people trying to get clean down there,” he says.