I attended the Boulder Citizens’ Police Academy a number of years ago and now participate in an alumni group that provides role-players for police training. I’ve been a hostage, hostage-taker, drunk, assaulter, bombing victim to name a few of the roles I’ve played.
In preparation, I received a driver’s license that had been confiscated from being in the possession of the wrong person, probably from having been used as an ID for an underage drinker. I had my hand drawn sign and then awaited the arrival of a trainee. Police dispatch signaled the trainee that a complaint had been made of an aggressive panhandler. When the officer arrived, I held up my sign and asked him for five dollars multiple times.
Boulder allows panhandlers but they have to back off after being told no once and can’t aggressively confront or touch someone. I acted insistent and obnoxious enough that I received a citation for aggressive begging. I would then need to appear before a judge and potentially be fined $250.
Over the course of the morning I put on my act four times, each time receiving a citation and once being handcuffed in preparation to being carted off to jail, because I refused to sign the summons and indicated I would not show up for the court date.
This is the second time I’ve played this role, I’ll have to be careful not to be type cast. The picture shows me with my sign outside police headquarters.