When the squad of motorcycle cops passed by my car while waiting at the light, I didn’t smell motorcycle exhaust at all. Instead, I smelled really bad cologne. Horrible cologne!
1st thought: It’s amazing how far engine exhaust technology has come—I’m downwind of those bikes and all I smell is the human being. That is encouraging…
2nd thought: You know, cops shouldn’t have to perform their job smelling so cheap. They should smell like those musky, wealthy businessmen on the morning commuter trains who can turn your nose gay.
It commands respect, when you smell expensive. It makes people want to be with you. How much easier would police work be if everyone not only respected the cops but actually wanted to be with them while on duty?
The same domestic disturbance is much more likely to be resolved smoothly if you show up smelling like a million Swiss francs than if you show up smelling like an air freshener.
Now obviously cops don’t make enough money to afford their own expensive cologne. We civilians must be the ones to provide it to them. The question is: public or private? There are problems with both.
Public funding of police redolence is not only expensive but governments are notoriously bad when it comes to issues of fashion and culture, and nasal aesthetics are almost as subject to fashion as visual aesthetics. Back in the 80’s, the East Germans tried to issue their commissars a socialist version of “expensive cologne” and look what happened. No one would even turn around, they smelled so bad.
On the other hand, private funding of fragrant law enforcement naturally leads to problems of corruption and influence peddling. Who’s going to bust the person who made you smell like royalty? You wanna go back to smelling like bathroom spray?
One way or the other, however, we must reform our police. We must make them smell better. Much better.