From Line Vehicle to Take Home Car

I started my career when dinosaurs still walked the earth, back in the early 1980s. I was young, immature, high strung and ready to save the world. Like any new officer, I couldn’t wait to get my own assigned vehicle.

Reflecting back in time now, it feels like hundreds of years ago. After three months of FTO, being told what to do and how to do it, I was finally released on my own and began to ride solo.

As with assigned vehicle and take home policies in general, many things have changed over the years. Some for the good and some not so much.

As lineup broke I walked out to the rear parking lot, up to what we referred to then as “line vehicles.”

I was excited but fearful at the same time. I know that each and every line vehicle had a history of its own. Some cars were referred to as “roach motels.” Yet some of the other line vehicles were even worse, smelling like piss, s**t, and vomit.

As I opened the door I immediately noticed the unit was in pretty good shape. The Dodge Diplomat emblem was even still attached to the car. However, the knucklehead(s) that used the car before me used a substance like Armor All on the seats and floorboard.

For those of you that have not experienced such a wonderful thing, let’s just say it’s like going down a waterslide when you’re sitting on seats conditioned in that manner. It’s extremely slippery and very dangerous.

I went to my personal vehicle and took out several discarded milk cartons that we found behind a local grocery store during my FTO phase. I loaded up my files in one and my extra handcuffs flashlights and all the typical gear a new officer requires in the other.

I followed this monotonous procedure and drove a line vehicle for approximately a year. However, about a year later I was assigned my first take home car.  I was so excited; the car was taken off the line, but I didn’t care. It was mine! Moreover, I no longer had to transfer gear contained in milk crates and share a car with so many other officers; some of whom were not the cleanest individuals in law enforcement. As a matter of fact, they were more like zoo animals.

I drove this car for the next two years and put thousands of miles on it. Yet it was my very own take home car.

Two years later I got the call from the “Ivory Tower.” I was finally getting a brand new marked police unit for the very first time in my law enforcement career. Even now I remember the day when I picked up my “baby.” Ah yes, the smell of a new vehicle. Furthermore, everything worked and was clean. As a result, I was one happy police officer.

– Robert Greenberg, CEO of Law Enforcement Today