Tanks for the ride, LPD

The Lewiston Police Department unveiled its new recreational vehicle Tuesday: an armored personnel carrier acquired from Portland via the U.S. Army.

Chief Bussiere was even gracious enough to offer an eager reporter a ride around town, turning me instantly into a goofy, grinning 10-year-old.

Having lived on an aircraft carrier for a couple years in the Navy, I quickly pulled my veteran’s card and marched up the platform with the confidence of Patton and took my seat.

Ah, the smell of diesel in the passageways as the ocean rolled that floating city gently to and fro.

When Detective James Theiss turned the engine over however, I awakened from liberty in the Philippines to life inside a lawnmower. The engine roared as I imagined what sitting inside a muffler would be like.


Theiss eased the levers and the beast lurched, sending me across the hard, vinyl-covered bench designed for five or six battle-hardened backsides. The compartment filled with diesel. Not the ship exhaust of my youth but like you just soaked your sneakers in the stuff and closed yourself in the bathroom.

Then the vibrations kicked in as we hit pavement. My feet were instantly tingling. I clamped my jaw shut to stop my teeth from clacking together. Across from me, Sgt. Michael Whalen was mouthing something to me. I smiled and nodded.

I couldn’t help but smile. For all the discomfort, it was a dream come true. It was every childhood memory of sketchy carnivals riding the Flying Bobs, no doubt put together by some drifter of questionable sobriety.

The sound of a thousand lead sinkers on tumble dry came to a stop at the Public Works garage where proper hearing and sight struggled to right themselves.

Unable to wipe off my 10-year-old grin, I found an odd sense of kinship with the beast. A loud, clunky veteran of the Cold War arrived in Lewiston, still trying to make itself useful.

— Douglas McIntire

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