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Hipster Cops and the Serpico Effect

Thus far, we haven’t had much to say about Occupy Wall Street, but we may have finally found an angle we can sink our teeth into.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Rick, photographed on duty at Zuccotti Park. Rick is a cop. Rick is also a snappy dresser—at least by the standards of municipal employees. And for some reason, the confluence of those two facts has given us hope in these crazy, Occupied times.

First, a little backstory. Word has it that Rick’s a community affairs officer/detective, so it makes sense that he’s dressed more like the protesters than a barrel-chested gentleman of the NYPD. The mustache-phalanx is just a front to make New York’s Finest seem more invincible and less human. If you’re doing community outreach, it pays to break out of the mold. Throw on a three-inch tie, some wire-rim glasses, and suddenly you’re a person again.

It’s not a new trick. In fact, we’d trace it back to a certain gentleman in the ’70s with a penchant for well-kept clothes: Mr. Frank Serpico. In that case, the stakes were a little higher, but it’s a standing reminder of the power of nonconformist style. And if 40 years down the line, a well-placed tie clip manages to foster a little understanding between the occupiers and the occupied, we’d count that as a win for style.