By "Radical" Russ Belville I’m always thrilled when I get word from one of our local NORML chapters about their new creative projects to capture the public imagination. This latest treat from Dallas/Fort Worth NORML, however, is one of my favorites.
It’s the “Truth Enforcement Vehicle”, a former police car bought at auction. DFW NORML replaced the red’n'blue lights with green LEDs and christened it vehicle #420 (of course).
David Sloane, public information officer for DFW NORML, tells us about the reaction from the public and from the police:
This weekend, besides the meeting, I drove it to the local Ford Dealership, O’Riley Auto Parts, and Walmart to pick up incidental parts and stuff for the meeting. Each time when I came out I found a crowd around it snapping pics with their cell-phones. The best reaction has been the cops… seen 4 so far. Each time at first glance I get a big-ole “Good-Ole-Boy” wave! Then anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 second later they whip that head back around at me with a “WTF!?” expression on their face.
David’s been forwarding us progress reports on the Truth Enforcement Vehicle and in response, NORML Founder Keith Stroup warned that such a brazen appropriation of police imagery might bring with it some extra attention from cops, so be very careful to obey the law and not allow contraband in the car. Sure enough, Papa NORML knows best, judging by today’s report from David:
Well, Keith Stroup’s crystal ball seems to be in fine working order. I just got stopped in 420 TRUTH CAR on Loop 820. I was driving under the speed limit and a FTW PD traffic unit working stationary radar on the shoulder started kicking up dirt and gravel coming onto the freeway before I even past him. (Indicating to me they’ve been watching for that car.)
His whole demeanor and tone was very friendly as he approached but was still somewhat official when he asked me to “turn the light bar on.” I coulda been a dick and asked him if he had a warrant but I really wasn’t getting a “tude-vibe” from the guy at all. What the hey…the GREEN lights are legal. Once they were on he looked at them for a good three seconds doing the math. (I really think he was expecting red/blues in the batch somewhere.) Then he just kind shook his head and chuckled.
Then he noticed an old City of FTW vehicle inventory sticker on the dash. “371… was that a traffic unit?” I said no it was a Low-Jack car… but I re-numbered it to 420. He kinda chuckled again and said he noticed and something to the effect of everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Then he asked if he could get some pictures! I told him sure and turned the light bar back on for him. He pulled out his phone and began snapping away. (I got a shot of him… gettin a shot of me… attached!)
We exchanged cordial adieus and I was on my way. He wasn’t menacing or harassing at all. I think they are just curious. I’m sure those pics got the FTW-PD most-forwarded award for the afternoon shift! Now just three more shifts to go! LOL