My Prisoner Transport Soundtrack 

Just a little while back, Motorcop had a post on Uniform Stories titled 7 Songs a Cop Blasts When Responding to a Call and the man hit the nail on the head with several, although a couple left me scratching my head about west coast cops in general.  I definitely have my own soundtrack of heavy metal or old school rap music while I’m patrolling the streets of my suburban Donut County jurisdiction, and our patrol vehicles are outfitted with a state of the art camera system which has captured some great vehicle pursuits fit for the big screen with the background music already in place.

For the most part, we’re tasked with transporting our own arrestees to the jail.  Anyone who has done a transport knows that the ride really depends on a lot of circumstances.  I’ve had folks thank me for treating them well, I’ve had some give me the silent treatment, and I’ve had others that have called me names that would’ve made even the saltiest drill instructor blush the entire trip.

A while ago I decided to have a little fun at these folks expense and a burned a CD of “transport music”.  Alas, that CD did not survive a rough life of being tossed around the interior of a marked police car, but with the interwebs readily at my disposal, I can now find an appropriate transport playlist with the push of a few buttons before we head to the pokey.  I’ve chosen my songs in an attempt to make light of a bad situation as kind of a tongue in cheek way of breaking the ice during what can be an awkward drive when someone is getting ready to trade in street clothes for the blaze orange inmate jumpsuit.

The following 7 songs are my favorites to play while headed to the jail depending on the situation at hand:

  1. “I Fought the Law” by the Clash is my personal favorite song for the jerkoff who decided to resist arrest. It’s not a really deep lyrical song, but the repetitive chorus of “I fought the law and the law won” makes my ride a little more enjoyable nonetheless.  If I’m feeling especially vindictive, I may follow it up with the John Mellencamp classic “Authority Song” which repeats the refrain of “I fight authority, authority always wins”.
  2. “Been Caught Stealing” by Jane’s Addiction provides the perfect soundtrack for a trip with a theft suspect for obvious reasons. We don’t typically jail a lot of the shoplifters we encounter, but it’s really perfect for those situations, too.  I’ve had more than a couple sing along with this one, and who can blame them since it gets stuck in my head, too.
  3. “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash gets airtime if I happen to be in the company of someone who is looking at a substantial stay behind bars because of his or her criminal acts. I’m a huge fan of The Man in Black anyway, although he’s not typically on my work playlists.
  4. “I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones isn’t really a song for transporting someone to jail, but sometimes we’re tasked with transporting someone who is mentally unstable to receive a psychological evaluation. I stumbled onto this while a trainee and I were doing such a transport and the song happened to come on the radio.  The young lady who had attempted suicide sang along like she was the recording artist and it’s been a running joke between he and I ever since.
  5. “Sitting in a Bar” by Rehab covers a few different kinds of arrests. It works well for domestic battery suspects, those being arrested for driving while intoxicated, and those who have violated their parole as well.  If you happen to police trailer parks, this one is a must.
  6. “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley is the perfect song for first time offenders who are really freaking out about going to jail for the first time and for those who all of a sudden have forgotten the golden rule of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.
  7. “Bad Boys” by Inner Circle has to be one of the most cliché songs in law enforcement, but I’ve had more than a couple of suspects laugh when I put the car in drive and have this song cued up for our ride to the Donut County Hotel. When in doubt, it’s always fun to get the reaction one way or the other, so give it a shot.  I especially enjoy singing along like this song is my jam, but I always butcher it like Martin Lawrence did in the movie with the same name.

That’s my go-to list for doing arrestee transports; hopefully I’ve added something new to your own selection.  I’m always looking for more to add so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments area.

It’s time to go patrol the Donut…

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About donutcountycop

I am a husband, father, and coach who began a career in law enforcement at a very small agency in 2003. After a deployment to Iraq with the USMC reserve in 2004, I changed agencies and moved to a “donut county” that borders a major US city in 2006. My current agency is composed of about 50 sworn officers, and is the busiest agency in our part of the donut. I am currently a mid-level supervisor who is in charge of a night shift, and serve the department in many other areas that include SWAT, FTO, and primary instruction. I’ve been around long enough to lose the illusion that I have every answer to every problem and now fully understand that my experiences have prepared me for little else than a life of wearing a badge and pistol.
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