This car. Seeing this car always brings me great glee, and whenever I’m driving around town (currently El Paso, Texas) and I see one of these ‘trolling the roads, I yell out almost at the top of my lungs, “TROOPER!!!!!!!”
This is the car of the Texas Highway Patrol. They’re state police, which means they have jurisdiction EVERYWHERE in the state. My first speeding ticket came from four officers in one of these cars. And you know what I did? I didnt’ fight it. First, because I was too scared to fight it, because there were four officers surrounding my car. But more importantly, because they were Troopers.
My dad is a retired Texas State Trooper. He worked there for… I believe 23 years, up until I was in middle school. He retired and then got a job with the government but that’s irrelevant to this post. The relevancy is that when he was a Trooper, he would bring that black-and-white home and park it in the driveway, in the rocks to the right side of the house. He would enter the house in this uniform:
and I loved it. I loved the creak of that leather belt when he bent down to hug me and kiss me, the way he smelled– like cop uniforms always smell like leather and their car and the heat. It wasn’t bad. He worked, but he never smelled bad.
The job would take him out of town for a week at a time, a few times a month usually. And he had to drive that black-and-white to wherever. The day before he had to leave, he would go out to that car and make sure everything was ship-shape, including the radar. I never found out exactly how he was testing the radar, but I know that it involved tuning forks, because he always made me laugh when he tapped those tuning forks together, because of the noise it made and I liked watching how long it took for them to stop vibrating with the sound. He would leave early in the morning, to get some drive time in without the stifling Texas heat, usually at about 3 in the morning. Every single time, I would wake up and groggily follow him around as he gathered everything he needed. My older brother usually woke up too, which woke up my mom, and we all followed him out onto the driveway and start the car. He’d kiss and hug us goodbye, and we all stood on the driveway watching him drive away. I hated watching him drive away because I was a Daddy’s Girl and I hated that he had to leave. But the one thing I loved about him leaving was that he always put on the patrol car’s lights as he left the cul-de-sac, and I think he even left them on until he got to the main street around the corner, because I saw them reflected on the houses near the corner.
When he was home, he made sure he was very involved in my life. When I was in elementary school, we would have a parade for the… I think the program is D.A.R.E. now but whatever it was in the mid-nineties. On the Friday when it was “scare away drugs” day or whatever that all the kids could dress up in Halloween costumes, we’d have a parade and walk around the schoolyard. I felt so special because my dad would lead the parade in his patrol car. He’d pull the black-and-white up over the curb and run the lights, and while I was in line with my class, I would look for him. When I saw the car, I always ran to him, yelling at the teacher when she tried to hold me back, telling her that that was my dad and I could go over there because in my mind, Daddies are greater than teachers in terms of authority, especially when they’re police. So I got up to the car and hugged my dad and he would let me sit in the passenger seat and lead the parade with him.
My dad was and still is my world, and just writing this post makes me tear up and wish for those times with him again, if only for a moment.
I currently have an application in with the local police department, and even though my dad advises me against it, I think he’ll still be proud if I make it into the academy and graduate from it and carry on the cop-ness that runs in the family. My mom’s father was also a policeman, and so is one of her brothers now, so I can’t imagine doing anything else. I hope to get into and through the academy so I can make my dad proud and let him know that he raised me right.