Even when bears are being fed, or feeding from birdfeeders, or panhandling from tourists, they are still bears so they will treat you like another bear. The problem is that bears are very physical with each other. Even though they may look and act like a big dog, a sudden miscommunication like trying to pet one may result in a sudden and unavoidable swat or bite. Bears, unlike dogs, take offense at being petted. Bears play by bear rules and know nothing of ours. Close contact between uniformed people and bears is a script for disaster. So the answer is straightforward: don’t get close.