The Inside of Your Patrol Car Says a Lot About You
Some of us might think the patrol car shields us from public view. It is mostly an object of the law enforcement community with a little town flare in the graphics. The departments do not engrave them with our name and badge number like a race car.
We all have our quirks and characteristics. As cops, we adopt many similar behavioral patterns which makes it easy to recognize our blue culture. It reflects outward. We act certain ways.
Law enforcement officers have high expectations of each other.
Our humor is in a league of its own.
Mannerisms like keeping our gun hand free, sitting at the back of the restaurant, and blading off to friends and family are customary. Police officers are vigilant on and off duty.
Officers have “things” which must be included in our repertoire which usually consists of necessary operational equipment and department stuff along with our personal preferences of LEO doohickies.
Cops are collectors.
Who Are You?
What items and habits speak volumes about you? Do you stock your patrol car with special gizmos and must haves each day of duty? Snacks? Are you a germaphobe? Are you organized or ride amongst rubbish? Do you favor an air freshener scent? Do you carry smell good lotion to ward against the duty elements? What about your tunes?
The inside of your patrol car says a lot about what kind of person you are and what you are all about.
The Narc Ark
These g-rides are usually chock full of food wrappers and pop cans, haphazardly strewn about the cruiser perhaps because the officer just got out of a drug task force assignment. The interior condition is a pig sty, but the debris is stage props when undercover. Approach with caution if you see Mountain Dew cans. The only thing necessary to distinguish it from a dope transport are the lack of Crown Royal bags and dart boards. Perhaps there is a rank smell coming from the half-eaten greasy burger under the driver’s seat tossed there in a hurried attempt to take a call. There might be a menagerie of tunes on the playlist.
The smell. It isn’t Lysol. It the scent of institution. I’m not sure what they put in that stuff in the janitor’s closet at the department, but it covers this car in a dense fog after each transport. You could find a perfectly pristine state statute book in the gear bag. The lunch box and personal equipment will be labeled with the officer’s name and badge number to prevent inner departmental thievery. Everything in the patrol unit resounds of “mine, mine, mine.” Next to the console in the passenger seat you might find a box of Nitrile gloves, just handy enough. Everything is in its place, including the officer’s hair. NPR is a favorite late night channel choice.
The Metrosexual Motor
Enter Officer Rico Suave’s cruiser and you will find it is easily recognizable. It is a man car. He is good looking, muscular, and one of those “macho” guys. If he isn’t in the department calendar it is because the department doesn’t have one. The patrol unit reeks of Axe as he rolls up to a scene. You can see the GQ hair style from a distance. The uniform is tailored and pressed, and his boots are spit shined, but it isn’t because he spent any time in the military. All the mirrors have fingerprints on them. Next to his mobile computer is a can of “got2b Spiked-Up” and Tone Loc’s greatest hits. Oh yeah.
The Broken-in Buggy
Next to a broken-down driver’s seat is a lunch box and a gently worn equipment bag seat belted in the passenger’s side. Your best guess is that it was driven by a veteran officer. You see a preference for shotguns in the rack, some like them in the trunk. If the gun rack is empty, it is used to hold a warm hat. The trunk has many police necessaries including one or two rifles. Single cages are often requested. It might also be the only vehicle used to the recline position. Absent is a statue book because those code numbers and qualifying parameters are memorized. There is a possibility “resemblance” of off-road marks on the undercarriage. The officer might be reluctant to trade in “Lucille” for a shiny new girl. It isn’t too dirty, but it isn’t pretty either.
The Kitchen Sink
This officer lives for the job and lives in his or her g-ride because the job is life. The interior is completely equipped with everything known to man used or made for the cop world. Watch out for the huge smart phone and all the gizmos. It has everything available and possibly snacks to share- just ask. It’s all about caring and sharing. All the new law enforcement gadgets are ready to see some action and handy access to the internet for updates on all the new and improved. Each arrestee can be assured his or her backseat ride is clean and free of dust, bio hazards, and critters.
The Suckup Siren
Raging through the downtown is this beast of a mobile with fresh department striping and the brightest LED light bar. Instead of an old Stalker radar, the latest and greatest is installed. The driver is a self-proclaimed badass and a seasoned officer who made a fuss about getting the new company ride. There are no unnecessary things in the car because all that frill is a waste. Healthy alternatives or homemade goodness accompany the officer next to a neat and tidy, but recently shuffled through gear bag. Hey, you got a little something…right there…on your nose.
Chanel No. 5-0
Females starting out in police work who have not comprehended personal safety and career image drive a “scentuous” police vehicle oozing with fresh fragrance and a constant supply of super hold hair spray. Dangling from the rearview mirror are good luck charms bedazzled with jewels to ward off the devil. The vents have two or three Magnolia Madness air fresheners to counteract the smell of homelessness. Preferred uniform accessories consist of blue hair bows, and black barrettes to accompany many different styles of man shoes. Although the aromatherapy contributes to global warming and alerts bad guys upon approach, it comes in handy to diffuse the air on dead body calls. Equipment expenses put the officer in a fickle pickle because if it isn’t cute or it doesn’t match, it doesn’t happen. You can spot these types a mile away not because of the big beautiful hair, but because they tend to circle the block before arrival and let other officers go first in order to make a grand entrance.
When you door up with your buddy, you notice they are snacking on some processed goodness and have a couple tacos on standby. This colleague is rocket propelled. They are all heart and little foot action, but their stature is worthy on the job. Driver seats are worn and creak when adjusted. A modest hair gel spot stains the headliner. The line of department tools observable in the patrol car are very basic. Anything required, but deemed unnecessary is conveniently put in the trunk and collects dust. Fast food bouquets mix well with the south end of a rhino-like vapor. Supervisors often call for this unit for riots or crowd control. The green gas makes the politicians less likely to complain about rapid group disbursement.
Think about your peers. Do they have sound personal and police equipment choices or tactical practices? Are they hoarders? Do they have customs on duty you can pinpoint which reflect their personality? Is it a fair assessment or just your perception?
When you live out of your cruiser for hours on end each day, the car takes on your personality. It could be practically organized, comfortable, or aimless. Make it your own, but be safe. Fit car, fit body, fit mind. Humor should remain jaded.