The public might not notice, but police forces are already feeling the surge in self-esteem that fashion savvy bestows.
TREND that began in New York City is fast sweeping the nation, as unmarked squad cars by the thousands roll in for a fresh coat of enamel paint dubbed "Taupe of the Law" by a Brooklyn body shop that created the new color especially for police vehicles.
Said Vinny Peccorino, lead body-work specialist at Joe's Body Shop, "Okay, so here's the thing. You're drivin' around in some high-tech Crown Vic, but you're lookin' like a real mud-brown piece a crap, know what I mean? To me, that ain't right."
With some help from "my best boys," Vinny spent months blending various neutrals "and a dab a white, but I ain't gonna tell you how much," until he finally produced a sleek color that he couldn't quite put his finger on.
"I had to aks our girl at the cashier counter, Elaine. I says, 'What the hell kinda color you call this, Elaine?' and she says 'Oh, that's taupe.' I'm like, 'What the hell is taupe, anyways?' and she says 'Vinny, that's the name so shuddup already.' So I give her a little pinch and that's the name of it. It's taupe. According to Elaine."
The popular new shade quickly caught on in all New York City borough precincts and New Jersey bedroom communities. It's estimated that unmarked squad cars in all but a few interior states now sport the more flattering, yet no-less-inconspicuous enamel coating.
"My officers still sneak up on people like they used to," observed Captain Jake DiBartolo, of Bergenfield, New Jersey, "but now we know we're looking our best when we turn on the party lights and scare the crap out of you.
"I get officers telling me almost every day, 'Captain, my blues look so much better next to Taupe of the Law.' And it's true, you know? It's amazing what the right color can do for morale. I've got one guy who actually presses his pants before every shift. No kidding. And he's a total slob, normally."
Vinny says, modestly, that his taupe creation "ain't no big deal, really." But, encouraged by the paint's popularity, Vinny admits that he's already hard at work on a complementary shade for the grill that protects officers from unsavory types held in a squad car's back seat.
"It's gonna be much better than plain black, but I ain't quite there yet," says Peccorino. "But when I'm done, it's gonna look like black velvet. Kinda like you see behind Elvis, or them wolves bayin' at the moon. Real artistic like."
© 7.22.09 Kate Heidel