Save The Dancing Cop!

Do The Right Thing, Provincetown!

I like my cops to be Big and Mean. As sad a fact as it is, Intimidation is an important part of street-level police work. A key part of that gun never coming out of that holster is that a good cop should be able to snatch up most thugs by the throat if need be.

However, some variety is good for any profession, and some forms of eccentricity are charming. This charm is multiplied if the person in question is a public figure in a town that is dependent on tourism. I won't even mention the benefits of a bit of Flamboyance when protecting Provincetown, but it looks like I just did.

Provincetown, for years and years, has had a distinct local institution. Officer Donald Thomas joined the Provincetown Police Department in 1947 as an auxilliary and then summer policeman. At some point in the 1970s, he became a traffic cop, like the type Frosty and the kids ran past. It was then that his inner Dancing Cop manifested itself.

Eventually, Provincetown had an Icon. Effortlessly spinning, sidestepping, pivoting, performing the Fox Trot, even breaking out the Arabesque now and then, Donald Thomas moved cars along with flair. He never went over the top, either... every step was performed for a traffic-moving reason.

People love the Dancing Cop, and the feeling seems to be mutual. Lopes Square was his personal Studio 54.

Officer Thomas started getting up there in years, they took his gun away, and he eventually was too old for regular police work. However, he moves the traffic along almost flawlessly, and he does so with a flair that lends his actions their own authority.

Now, at 83 years old, the ball may be over. Times are tough, money is tight, and Thomas will be out of a job this summer unless something happens.

Locals are taking great steps to try to catch Officer Thomas a break. Here is a link to a petition that you can sign on behalf of the dancing cop. You can also call the police chief directly, but I wouldn't suggest something like that.

Provincetown isn't totally evil. They kept him on into his 80s, and they even got him a job at a parking lot. Their hands are tied, financially.

However, Officer Thomas served for 50 years, his wife died in November, he loves the job, the job loves him, summer cops don't accrue any retirement benefits, and this is one of the few times in history where "Just work the old man until he drops dead on the street" is the right thing to do.

At worst, hire him to find and train his Dancing Cop successor. The right Chamber Of Commerce people could sell that to a few night-spots, and maybe they could pay for him that way.

I sure hope that something Awesome happens. Bring Back Officer Thomas! welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on