Can I See Your License and Registration

William Allison | Contributing Writer

Old cop car. by William Allison

Have you ever had someone flip you the bird and shout profanities at you while you’re driving down the street, just because of the vehicle that you drive? That’s one of the more comical reactions I’ve gotten to my car, a 2000 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor – an old cop car.

There are also an astonishing number of people who seem to think that just because I drive the car that I do, it automatically makes me a police officer. I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I have been asked, “Are you a cop?!” When I tell the inquiring people no, they seemed confused and insist that I must be one, since I drive an old cop car, to which I reply, “So a homeless person who pushes a shopping cart is shopping then?”

In addition to many profane gestures and statements, people seem to drive ridiculously slowly in front of me, which, when you’re late for class, this can be extremely frustrating. It’s not all bad though, as I quite often see people putting their seat belts on when I come around the corner. Many people laugh at that, but in my opinion, it’s great because it got them to buckle up and be safe.

It’s not just on the road where people get worried that there might be a police officer nearby; I have noticed a significant decrease in the number of transients hanging around my work since I’ve purchased this car. There have also been a few times when I’ll pull into a parking lot and see a group of teenagers quickly disperse, which leaves me wondering what they might have been doing.

When I asked a Linn County Sheriff’s Deputy (who requested to remain anonymous) his thoughts on people driving old cruisers, he said, “While I know the average person wouldn’t do this, I have heard about people trying to pull other cars over. It also worries me when I hear complaints about guys trying to take advantage of women by acting like a police officer.”

I then spoke to an Albany Police Officer (he also did not wish to be named), and he said, “I don’t see anything wrong with it. In my opinion, it’s a cheap way to get a good car, providing it was taken care of. If you want to pay for the maintenance of it, that’s up to you.”

So, when you see an unmarked Crown Vic on the road, keep in mind that it’s not always a cop; it could be a taxi, probation officer, or even just a normal college student (imagine that!).

What do you think?