It seems sometimes that I have taken a million and one photos of policemen here in Santiago. Maybe it’s because I know they’ll let me, maybe it’s because it seems so strange to see so many all the time (this, a function of the fact that I live downtown, more than anything), or maybe it’s because I just can’t get enough of how their riot gear reminds me of the teenage mutant ninja turtles.
Pictures of pacos (semi-derogatory word for police officer, the correct word is carabinero) are also tremendously popular on my flickr feed, to the point where I’ve created a set of paco pics for those of you who love them so. And here it is.
I am so happy to live in a democracy where police intimidation seems to not be a problem (correct me if I’m wrong), and where I’m free to take and publish pictures of police officers doing what they do without recrimination. Though admittedly, most of these photos just have them standing around. Sometimes with dogs.
This one even turned up in that article about me, and so far no one has come breaking down my door.
And I have to say, I believe that police officers, in their green uniforms, look particularly snazzy against a red background. Coincidentally, the Telepizza in Plaza Italia (ground zero for pretty much anything happening in Santiago) was recently painted red. I think you’ll agree they look fab here. And just so you know, although there's not usually this many, there are always police officers around here, since it's a point of conflict in the city, particularly at night on the weekends.
Though maybe the red background isn't as good as this rainbow one with Brazilian police officers at the gay pride parade in Sao Paulo a couple of years ago.
It makes me want to start taking pictures of other civil servants, like the (unpaid) firemen, two of whom I’ve met recently, or of mailmen. Oh wait, I do that, too. (see the original post about the mail snafu here.
I’m not much of a rule-following, police-are-here-to-protect-you person. I view the police more as a benevolent presence than a set of people out there to fight for my rights. I actually don’t spend much time thinking about them, though I do take a boatload of pictures of them. I wonder if they’re out there taking pictures of me, too?