An artist has drawn a comic series featuring police that attempts to create understanding and ease the tension between law enforcement personnel and the public, drawing on her experience participating in social movements, which gave her a first-hand look at the difficulties of being a police officer.
Nisin Sheep (羊寧欣) — a pseudonym — said she was a “mob” protester at university and her participation in the Sunflower movement in 2014 resulted in her removal by four police officers from the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber, which was being occupied in response to a cursory review of a cross-strait service trade agreement by lawmakers.
She had released comic strips online depicting interactions between protesters and police, which drew the attention of junior police officers, Nisin Sheep said.
Her exchanges with those officers deepened her understanding of the difficulties police face and motivated her to create Taiwan’s first police comic series, The Growth of a Rookie Police Pigeon (菜比巴警鴿成長日記), she said.
Police officers are transformed into pigeons in the series, with protagonist Pa-tsai (巴仔) an embodiment of low-level officers who have to cope with strenuous training, demanding routines and irregular eating schedules, Nisin Sheep said.
“An episode describing a police officer harboring suicidal thoughts and staring at a handgun in a safe represents the real burden on low-level officers, which is evidenced by the increase in police suicide rates,” she said.
Nisin Sheep’s agent, Han Yi-ching (韓依璟), also known as “Chipmunk,” helped conduct field studies on the working conditions of police in other nations to help her gain an understanding of the hardships Taiwanese police officers face.
A German police officer works about 164 hours per month, while a Taiwanese officer has to work an additional 100 hours every month, including overtime, Han said.
The comic depicts the practices and cultures of police forces from around the world, such as a prohibition on British officers forming unions, the indifference of French police toward protests and German officers’ duty to protect protesters, even neo-Nazi demonstrators, Han said.
Nisin Sheep has also portrayed firefighters in Feurwehr (火人), published in 2015, a graphic novel about firefighting crews.
Nisin Sheep said her work aims to familiarize people with the responsibilities of police and firefighters and to bring about better understanding.
“I am not trying to convince anybody of anything and the rest is your business” to understand, Nisin Sheep said.
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