Okay, just when you thought that you have heard it all, there is something that jumps out at you to prove you wrong. This is definitely the case when considering the recent news that the Chicago police department added a feline to their roster as an official officer. Okay, allow me to put things into proper context. K-9s are considered actually officers and hold the same protections as human officers. If a criminal were to strike a K-9 that is on the department’s roster as a cop, that person will likely be charged with assaulting an officer.
When it comes to K-9s, it is easy to see why they make great additions to police departments. Dogs are easy to train. They are very good at sniffing out any number of things, from humans to drugs. And, they have the ability to subdue a suspect when necessary. Cat’s are almost impossible to train, they are very contrary almost for no reason at all except for being contrary. And while they can be feisty, they will not likely be able to bring down a suspect or even compelled to do so. Cats don’t possess the same sense of loyalty and need of approval that dogs hold for their masters and handlers.
So, why did the Chicago P.D. feel the need to add a cat to their roster? It all started when the department sent a K-9 unit to a local elementary school for a sort of show and tell. While at the school, one of the students asked why cats are not apart of the policing equation. Instead of offering the same reasons that I submitted earlier in this article, the officers allowed this crazy idea to creep into their head, and they took that idea back to their supervisory officer.
Welcome the 1st ever recruit in the CPD Meownted Unit, Pawfficer Gizmo. Gizmo, 8 years old, hails from a Police family. Gizmo’s mom is P.O. Ibarra and sister is K9 Rozi. Gizmo is Chicago tough with a soft side. He looks forward to making a pawsitive impact in the community
🚔 🐈 pic.twitter.com/h03uHLbeWv
— Chicago PD 14th Dist (@ChicagoCAPS14) October 16, 2018
They decided to use the idea as a public relations mechanism. Good PR for Chicago police is very much needed at this point and time. So, the police department took to Twitter and tweeted that if the tweet about cat cops got 500 retweets, they would bring on a feline officer. Of course, the tweet was retweeted more than 500 times and here we are.
The feline officer’s name is Gizmo. Gizmo is a part of a police family and home, and he will be assigned to the department’s community outreach division. They have actually named this particular sub-unit of the department the Meownted Unit. What is clear is that Gizmo will not be actively patrolling the streets of Chicago, but more likely making his rounds to public schools where kids will no longer be able to ask why there are no cats on the police roster.
Personally, one side of me thinks that it is genius, while the others side of me is wondering why the cop didn’t just answer the kid’s question and let it go. The truth is that changing up things to create a better environment is not a bad thing. It was thinking outside of the box. As a general rule, household cats are not as physically intimidated as a dog, meaning that Gizmo will make engaging police easier for kids.
According to sources, Gizmo was even sworn in just like any other officer. Now, how this was done I have no clue. Out of all of this, the thing that should stand out the most is the efforts of the Chicago police department to close the gap in communication and engagement that currently exist between the department and many of the City’s citizens. This goes a long way in helping to create a line of ongoing communication that can rebuild trust.
No matter how you look at it, it is will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next several years. Will the depart hire more cats? Will they introduce even more animals to the rosters. It would be kind of nice to see Rocky the Racoon sporting a badge.
Big ups to the CPD for stepping outside of conventional thought to entertain a new idea. Even more so, big ups to the kid who dared to challenge conventional wisdom. This is about so much more than a cat, although Gizmo is getting the bulk of the attention right now.