Officer Leigh Fiedler
Two and a Half Years On
I’ve always wanted to be a cop. I remember when I was in high school thinking that would be a really cool job. My dad was my high school principal as well as the town police commissioner. He had a badge and he used to talk about work. One day, I said maybe I’ll give this a try.
I like to catch the bad guys, everyone does. But I like interacting with people. I work down in Pioneer Square and the International District. The homeless population is 90% of the people I deal with. I really like working with them. It can be frustrating sometimes and a little frightening, but it’s an intriguing population to me. I like to interact with them and help them, work with them instead of against them, like, let’s try to collaborate and find out how we can work together.
With a lot of homeless people there are mental issues, so I have a really good relationship with the Downtown Emergency Service Center staff. It’s more about trying to keep them out of trouble, trying to help them make better decisions and find different ways other than busting out a window of a car to steal someone’s laptop so they can sell it for $10 so they can buy two cans of beer that day. There are better, safer and less criminal ways to get beer. Let’s figure out better ways to live on the streets and not have the tourists and other people be afraid to come down here.
I know lots of them by name and it is rewarding to put a smile on their faces. Street life is rough. These guys themselves get ripped off every day. They can’t hang onto their own stuff. And that’s how they think: someone stole from me, so I’m going to steal from someone else. That’s the mentality I’d like to change. We don’t have to have personal gain by someone else’s loss. We can find a better way to do this.