Haute Copture

Like the LAPD wood nightstick, the very essence of simplicity and a purist's dream is 26 inches of streamlined hardwood that won't take no for an answer. Those looking for something a tad fancier might want to opt for the Cocobolo stick, made from a fine grain wood that comes all the way from South America. Lawbreakers will be surprised to find this different taste of South American "coco."

Hamburger also presents a fine array of bracelets and chains; I was especially impressed by the Big Guy handcuff series. A 15 percent bigger shackle than standard cuffs, these "guys" will "fit larger wrists without allowing smaller hands to slip through." Add reinforced swivels, floating ratchet bars, slotted shackles and satin-finished steel, and you've got day-or-night wrist wear that's certain to make an arresting impression!

Near the Hamburger displays, I noticed a booth with a number of training weapons, all in a racy, demanding shade of baize green. Not only were these faux "tools of the trade" visually attractive, they were made of lightweight and manageable polymer. I noticed the fine Italian lines of one handgun, and, sure enough, it was a Baretta 92F model.

"In the old days, they'd take the firing pin out of a real gun and use it for training, but sometimes they'd fly out of the holsters and hit somebody in the head," a salesman told me. "I'd much rather get hit in the head with one of these."

Who would not!
None of this compelling law enforcement outerwear, not one of these enticing "extras" would have a point if it weren't for the men and women who actually use them. Of course, I'm talking about the nation's police forces, and you'd be "up against the wall" trying to find a better-looking force than our very own, right here in Phoenix.

Which is why I was so elated to find Phoenix Police Department trading cards, the perfect showcase for our persons in blue.

There's a card with natty Sergeant Robert Ortiz astride his chopper, outfitted in classic navy-blue roadwear. According to his "stats" on the back of the card, "Bob has always had an interest in traffic enforcement." Look out, Mr. Estrada!

The very picture of suave is the top cop himself, Chief of Police Dennis A. Garrett. The card showing this smiling silver fox seems to say, "Hold the Grecian, he's man enough to show the gray." It worked for Cary Grant! Chief Dennis' "Personal Message" on the back of his card is addressed to the citizens of tomorrow: "As young people, you are our future. Stay in school, strive to reach your potential." I couldn't have said it better myself.

So many of our favorites are here--bike patrol Officer Spence Preston, Officer Fred Spitler, Lieutenant Sherry Kiyler. ("Every choice has a consequence," Sherry tells us. And that certainly applies to clothing!) But perhaps my fave police trading card of all shows the entire Phoenix Police Air Support Unit. I love the way the officers' rugged olive jumpers highlight the leggy lady's daring display of above-the-knee. As the Air Support personal message goes, "Crime can't hide from the police in the sky." And that, as any of thousands of American Chiefs of Police can tell you, includes fashion crime.

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