It took a few minutes for me to get the joke, when Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff posted this photo to his Facebook wall with the caption “the most chilled out squad on the force.”
(Image courtesy of Gary Schiff)
For the uninitiated, “420” is a slang term long associated with marijuana. Ceremonial smoke-ups have been held for decades across the country at 4:20 p.m. on April 20 (4/20)… or any other day of the year for that matter. Enterprising journalists have traced the code word’s origins back to California in the early 1970’s.
“With the awareness the Police Department has of drug culture, I thought they would have skipped that number,” Schiff said in a phone interview. “I was happy to find out this was not part of the narcotics unit.”
Schiff urged the department to consider renumbering the vehicle, saying, “It makes them look naive at best.”
Thinking Schiff can’t be the first person to spot the ironic string of numerals on a cruiser, I performed a quick Google search. It turns out the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws bought a used Crown Vic last year.
NORML’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter put green lights on the roof, emblazoned it with the slogan “Legislate, Educate and Medicate” and called it a “Truth Enforcement Vehicle.” Its number, of course, was 420.
Image courtesy of NORML.org