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Derivatives From The JADE Project

For many years a section of the entry level exam of the Austin, Texas, police department (APD) required test takers to identify the make and model of vehicles based on the shape of the vehicles’ tail sections. Women test takers claimed that this was discriminatory, because the recognition and knowledge of automobiles more often were associated with males than females. However, many men also were not very astute with respect to vehicles body types. Eventually, APD removed this section from the exam. -- Police Organization and Management: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
With few exceptions, a year ago I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what kind of car I was looking at even if I was standing two feet behind it. I don’t believe it had anything to do with what sex I am; I simply never thought of it because I had no reasons to. My interest in the JADE Task Force changed that and these days I can identify a substantial number of vehicles upon view -- near or far -- and also, by the details (light contours, spoilers, et cetera) of some, many times isolate the range of years each was made.

I knew I was improving at this when I started nailing IDs in a snap at night in the pitch blackness. I think that’s so cool!

I’ve still got a lot to learn though. Like, whoever heard of a Chevy Uplander? I linked one to JADE, and I had to get close to it more than once before determining that’s really what it is. I don’t know how popular they are but I have yet to see another one of its kind. Another vehicle, used by a non-JADE member of one of the SWAT teams, remains a mystery to me. I keep its appearance in my mind at all times and, whether I see his again or one just like it, I swear I will figure out what it is. After all, I have to have something other than a color to go with the tag number. Speaking of which…

A conspicuous side effect of my newfound vehicle awareness is my eyes are constantly gravitating to license plates. I guess what started as an intentional procedure for select automobiles has developed into a subconscious tendency applying to all of them. So I can’t help but ask: does this happen to law enforcers too?