Nashua PD do a lot of patrols on their strip of Route 3, driving their trademark Chevy Impalas. Besides the fact that they just look like police cars, they’re seen driving them so often that I think most everyone who drives on Route 3 knows to slow down when they’re near an Impala.

In Boston, I was sitting on 93, not moving at all. A car went by in the breakdown lane. “What a jerk!,” I thought. A few seconds later, a Nissan pickup went by in the breakdown lane, driving even faster. “Now look what you started!,” I shouted to no one in particular.

Then some strobe lights on the back of the pickup came on, and I saw a guy wearing jeans and workboots hop out. “Is he a construction worker?! What the heck is going on?”

As I got a bit closer, I noticed that the guy in jeans and the baseball cap had a badge hanging from a chain around his neck (like you typically only see in movies?) and a gun on his hip.

That’s how you do it. You don’t drive an unmarked Crown Vic or a fleet of Impalas with a pigtail whip on the back. You drive a Nissan pickup and don’t dress like a cop. (But you also don’t do what some departments are apparently fond of, and try pulling people over with no real identification at all. Once I was past, I could see that he had ample blue lights on the front, in case the gun and badge weren’t convincing enough.)

I think it’s particular effective, too, because it communicates the message that there might be a cop watching even if you don’t see a black Crown Vic behind you.

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