Officer’s ode to a patrol car


There it was in a one-line email – Take your patrol car in and get it replaced with a new one

An instruction devoid of emotion and unrecognising of the unswerving servitude of my metallic partner in crime.

Farmers have their faithful sheepdog companions and my equivalent has travelled with me for many years.

I liked my car, the way it responded to me, our intimate knowledge of each other – we’ve never had a cross word.

Ten years with my car coincides with 10 years of marriage and I’d never consider trading in for a younger model at home.

The Holden Commodore V6 was born into duty in 2008.

A short hard life of “urgent duty driving”, the criminal equivalent of “driving it like it’s hot”, saw it used round the clock by frontline cops until like a beaten dog it gained a reprieve and was pensioned out to a laid-back community constable for an easier life.

Many an irate customer has calmed in the back seat listening to my deliberately chosen easy-listening music classics – like sleeping pill-dosed elevator music to the youthful.

As I transferred the road spikes, first aid kit, firearms and road cones between cars, I could empathise with David Hasselhoff finishing the Knight Rider TV series saying goodbye to his crime-fighting assistant, the artificially intelligent, indestructible K.I.T.T.

As I drove the 2018 version of my old patrol car off the lot with only 38km on the clock, I realised this will probably be the only brand new car I’ll ever drive.

The embarrassment of an awkward first date had me fumbling to locate the new handbrake location, but even afresh in the glow of a new partnership I had to make relationship concessions – no more of my CDs as there was no CD player.

I can’t help thinking back to my old partner and wonder what it’s doing.

Only 111,000km on the clock, mostly driven by one careful police officer, it could tell many stories about former occupants – some sad, some bad.

No longer will it have to put up with blood or vomit on the back seat or inaccurately eaten kebabs on the front seat as it moves into a new chapter of its life, stripped of its police identity and living in the civilian world.