Custom challenge coins are one way to honor the service of brave police officers across the country. And custom police coins go a long way toward eclipsing the many police clichés found in popular art.
We might as well deal with them, so we can begin dispelling them.
Obviously, the most notorious one is that of cops eating doughnuts, ubiquitous for many years. But there are more subtle ones as well. One of my favorites is the “angry black captain,” truly exemplified in Eddie Murphy’s “Beverly Hills Cop.”
I’m sure you’ve encountered this trope in film or television, with the inevitable demand of having the protagonist turn in both his badge and gun. This stereotype got so out of hand in Hollywood that films themselves started lampooning it, two examples being “The Last Action Hero” and “21 Jump Street.”
Then there is the “I’m getting too old for this” cliché of so many cop flicks. You know the narrative—a dutiful policeman is getting long in the tooth, yet he’s set to retire and enjoy his golden years. That’s a surefire sign he’s about to get killed. Well, not always. The movie “Lethal Weapon” exploited this trope with Danny Glover not having to kick the bucket (or turn in both his badge and gun).
We know police have to overcome dangerous elements on the streets, but in movies it gets worse because they have to overcome speeches by villains. And they’re nice enough to let the bad guy wax philosophical and mock the system, usually with a hostage and the interruption of the frenetic soundtrack. “Die Hard” typifies this tired formula, even if Alan Rickman, playing the villain, does have a wonderful voice. I always wish the angry captain would burst in and interrupt some of the villain speeches … just once.
Technology is magnificent, but not in movies when a police officer has to detonate a bomb. Forget the robots or cameras with a tech wizard on the other side. He’s all alone, and has to disarm the bomb by randomly cutting at least one of many colored wires. Hey, it happens every day! Furthermore, the cop always makes his decision with one second left. I believe one of the “Lethal Weapon” movies covers this cliché, sometime before Danny Glover retires.
Law enforcement agents chasing suspects in cars is no laughing matter, but in film it gets downright fruity. By fruity, I mean there’s always a fruit cart to run over. “The French Connection” began this trend, and afterwards all manner of pushed object decided to cross the street during a chase scene. It’s like mothers decide to push their stroller with a baby across the street as soon as they hear a siren. So do workers carrying panes of glass, or whatever else you can think of. Everyone is deaf in police movies, but I’m sure that has to do with the frenetic soundtrack.
Even after a movie police officer surmounts all these obstacles, and even after he shoots the villain with the flowery speeches, it’s not over. In real life, law enforcement agents always check the pulse of the recently deceased. But this rarely happens in Hollywood. The hero has to immediately go kiss the nearest woman or position himself before a fireball explosion to make it all look cinematic. And predictably, the villain will rise for one more gunfight, with or without a speech. The instances in film history are many, but it was certainly symbolized in “Terminator.”
So let’s say “Hasta la vista, baby!” to all these clichés, focusing instead of the true challenges and achievements of police officers, much better represented in the police challenge coins they earn. Honor their courage and dedication with custom police coins.