This is a letter to the editor, by a resident who wishes to remain anonymous. The views presented here are solely the writer’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of The Westland Gazette. Thank you.
I had a recent experience with the Westland Police Department, and when I saw The Westland Gazette was asking about experiences with our police, I decided to write in.
I am an Uber driver, I do it as a second job, for extra money for my children. While I was driving, I had a passenger who left their bag in my car. I contacted Uber, and Uber directed me to take it to the nearest police station. I went to the Westland Police Department and the officer at the desk, Officer Archambeau, was extremely rude and refused to take the bag.
The officer asked me where the passenger lived. I told him that the passenger lives in Wayne. The officer said “so take it to Wayne.” I said, “I am working, I am being a Good Samaritan and that is why I am bringing it here. Also, Uber directed me to take it to the nearest police station.”
He was acting extremely rude and sarcastic and said “So be a Good Samaritan, and take it to Wayne.”
At that point, I grabbed the bag, and moved to leave, and I said “No wonder Westland Police is always in the news, because you don’t want to help people.”
Officer Archambeau said something to the effect of “You are just a Uber driver, who cares?”
At that point, I became angry. I said “I will have you know, I have a good job, and I have a Master’s degree. There is nothing wrong with being an Uber driver, and I do it for my children!”
We were both loud and raising our voices, and I asked for and received his card.
He told me to “Do whatever the hell you want.”
I then asked another officer, who was very polite, for his supervisor. Sergeant Stark came out to see me. He was polite but said “We cannot take the bag, but if you wish you can file a complaint against the officer for his behavior.” I told him “I need to get back to my work and to my children so I will call the Chief.”
After this incident, I still have the same problem. I have the bag that I was directed by Uber to take to the nearest Police Department. My next fare took me in the direction of Canton, so I took the bag to the Canton Police Department, where I was treated very nicely. They called the passenger and told him that he could either come pick up the bag at the Canton Police Department, or that they could have an officer BRING HIM THE BAG IN WAYNE.
After all of that, I told the Canton police officer how the Westland Police had behaved and I honestly had tears welling up in my eyes. I related my encounter to the Canton Police Officer about how Westland Police had handled this situation, and spoke of how they always live up to their reputation.
The Canton officer said, “There is nothing wrong with having a second job and it was not cool that he was mocking you as you try to earn an honest living.” He also said that “I am a police officer but I have another part-time job myself. You shouldn’t let this bother you, as you are working an honest living.”
There was maybe an hour or so from when this incident started to when it ended, and I experienced two VERY different sets of behavior from what appears to be two VERY different Police Departments.
Many of our other local police departments have areas specifically for safe transactions, such as for people who are selling items on Craigslist, or other online commerce sites of that nature. The Police Department is the safest place in the city for transactions like these.
This was just a lost bag. Even if it is not our policy to accept this bag and help out citizens, the rudeness should certainly be unacceptable, no?
Here are a few examples of how other departments handle other instances of online-based or “gig commerce” in this new, digital world:
https://www.clickondetroit.com/community/local-police-departments-host-safe-transaction-posts (ClickOnDetroit — Almost three years old to the day, we seem behind?)
https://patch.com/michigan/plymouth-mi/safe-zones-spring-after-craigslist-murders-other-crimes (Patch.com – 3.5 years ago)
We will hope for more civil behavior from our Police Department in the future. If you can’t help, please at least be courteous about it.
The writer of this letter is a good citizen, just trying to do right by his family. Much like you. Much like me.
We should ALL be able to expect at least civil and courteous treatment, and our officers should be able to expect the same in the course of civil business with our residents.
We would also like to give a shout-out to the Canton Police Department, for “Policing With Purpose” as their vehicles say! THANK YOU for your awesome handling of this situation!
NOTE: We understand Uber drivers are independent contractors, any reference to employer is a simplification for flow. He was working in his capacity as an Uber driver, and acting under a directive from Uber.