How do you get a police escort?

Answers to your questions about the news.
May 2 2006 6:02 PM

Where's My Police Escort?

How to rent a cop.

Download the MP3 audio version of this story here, or sign up for The Explainer's free daily podcast on iTunes.

A police escort rushed Red Sox catcher Doug Mirabelli from Logan Airport to Fenway Park on Monday. Mirabelli, who had been traded to Boston shortly before Monday night's game, took the field less than 25 minutes later. Last week, a police detail in Edmonton, Alberta, met Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard at the airport and rushed him to the game. How do you get a police escort?

Call up the state troopers and ask for one. Professional sports teams hire uniformed police officers to make sure they can get players to and from airports or hotels without a problem. Construction companies make a habit of paying "extra-duty" officers to escort large trucks or control traffic around work sites. Even regular Joes like you and the Explainer can request a police detail if they have a good enough reason. (Police departments often grant escorts for private funeral processions, for example.)

Daniel Engber Daniel Engber

Daniel Engber is a columnist for Slate

Advertisement

Before you send in your application form, keep in mind that extra-duty cops don't come cheap. If the extra-duty office approves your request, you'll probably have to pay $30 or $40 an hour for each officer, plus an added fee for the use of police cruisers. (There's often a four-hour minimum, and last-minute or holiday orders garner a premium rate.) The department assigns the well-paid bonus hours to its officers on a rotating schedule after taking out a few dollars per hour for administration.

Departments that lack a system for assigning extra-duty work might be willing to improvise. When USC and Notre Dame requested police escorts for games at Brigham Young, the local Utah County Sheriff's Office was happy to oblige. "We've never done it before," one official told the Associated Press. "But, hey, if they want to pay us to do this, we'll take the money."

Police officers keep all their law-enforcement powers while on extra duty, but they're only allowed to exercise them in a way that's consistent with the mission of promoting public safety. That means you may be on shaky ground if you ask your rent-a-cop to put on the siren and high-tail it to the ballpark. (Some city governments have tried to ban the use of marked cruisers with sirens for extra-duty work.)

Got a question about today's news? Ask the Explainer.

Explainer thanks reader Ben Silva for asking the question.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 5:07 PM One Comedy Group Has the Perfect Idea for Ken Burns’ Next Project
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.