Police work with a McTwist: Meet Green Bay’s skateboard cop

Who is the baddest police officer in Green Bay, Wis.? Obviously the answer is Joel Zwicky, pictured above, looking like a boss.

According to WFRV, Zwicky is Green Bay’s skateboard cop. Yep. You read that right. Skateboard. Cop.

Call him the Longboard of the Law.

Are skateboards the future of law enforcement? We sure hope so, if only because that seems like an extremely chill way to keep the peace. Zwicky can be found patrolling the city’s parks, school zones and local bike paths on his board, helping his department access places that might have otherwise gone neglected and residents who might not always interact with police.

He also acts as something of an ambassador for the skateboarding community … or as one for law enforcement — depending on which side you feel like needs the most help. Just as there are some ugly assumptions about skateboarders, he said, there can be lazy stereotypes about police. Part of his role is helping to eliminate both.

“I certainly see that there’s challenges in breaking down some old ways of thinking,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I just hope that if I can conduct myself in a positive fashion, it’ll bring about some positive change.”

A police officer for about 10 years and a serious skateboarder for about four, Zwicky said he came up with the idea about two years ago. His board — which is tricked out with LED lights and larger wheels (for a smoother, easier ride) — is, he said, a “nice tool that fits a niche for police work” and is surprisingly adaptable. If Zwicky is needed across town, for example, he can stash the board in the front seat of his patrol car and mobilize quickly. He hadn’t heard of other skateboard cops, but if there are any out there, they should get at him online.


Police officer on a skateboard? Police officer on a skateboard. (Skateboardcop.com)

So far, Zwicky has only made one traffic stop on his board: in March, he came across a motorcyclist who “was deciding to take a chance” and traveling on a local trail instead of a road.

“We were both pretty shocked to see each other that day,” Zwicky said.

It’s not all about hard crime stats, though; there are some other advantages to being the skateboard cop. Zwicky recently gave a safety talk to young children, he said, a nerve-wracking experience for anyone. His board, however, made it a bit easier. “It helps when you talk to that group, and you have a skateboard with LEDs all over it.”

Please enjoy this TV report on Zwicky, in which he is asked about a lack of a skateboard siren. “Wooo wooo wooo,” he responds, “I can just do that, and save the money.” I think we can all agree that this would be a win for everyone in Green Bay.

Sarah Larimer is a general assignment reporter for the Washington Post.
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