Motorcycle Police: To Protect and Serve | Last Page

...And look kind of silly

Photography by Todd Lafferty

Who hasn't dreamt of being a law enforcement motor officer? The fresh scent of government-issue polyester, your very own handcuffs and a weighty Maglite swinging freely from your gun belt. Blame CHiPs, that pox upon the '70's TV landscape that's been passed around various cable networks ever since like an unwelcome toe fungus, poisoning generation after generation of American youth.

CHiPs presented an impossibly idyllic vision of law enforcement: Every week, officers Ponch and Jon would guide snoozing freeway drivers safely to the shoulder, arrive on the scene of yet another 41-mph freeway rollover to pluck a dazed supermodel out of a flaming wreck, or maybe rain down unspeakable bureaucratic hell on an unlicensed ice-cream truck owner. And perhaps win a few roller-disco contests in their off-hours. Who wouldn't want that job?

But it turns out real-life motor officers face a less cheerful world. The modern-day motor cop is more likely to find himself riding the weekend scooter shift, nailing perps who aren't properly bagging their dog dirt. Not a winsome supermodel in sight. In a bitter fog of looming middle age, it's enough to make an officer question the concept of TV as career coach.

Blame the Writers Guild and their hellspawn, Ponch and Jon. Should've watched more Love Boat. That Captain Stubing always seemed pretty cheerful.

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