By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer
Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to follow and signup for notifications!
COVINGTON, La. — A Louisiana sheriff’s deputy has earned a growing social media following after he started patrolling the St. Tammany Parish with an inflatable “evil clown” in the back seat of his car.
It’s 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide and has internal light capability so people can see it glowing in the back seat.
Deputy David Arriaza has been “causing quite a scare around the parish” with the gag, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook. A photo with the Oct. 15 post shows the clown — Pennywise from Stephen King’s novel “It” — is positioned perfectly to stare out at passing cars.
Hundreds have reacted and commented on the post, including some who say they “seriously” want to work for the department. The St. Tammany Parish is across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans.
“Better not be charging people with resisting arrest with that thing in the back,” one man wrote on Facebook. “No way I’m getting in there.”
“Bet that does wonders for the morale of detainees!” another said.
The clown is an oversized Halloween decoration from 2020 that ended up in the car after Arriaza couldn’t find a way to keep it inflated in his yard. Patrol cars have all types of dashboard gadgets, he says, including some that will keep things inflated.
Reactions have been hilarious, he says, including adults who pull up to him in traffic and start laughing. Others take photos whenever he pulls up to a stop sign and traffic light.
“Kids point and laugh and get their parents’ and siblings’ attention to look at it. I have noticed that most children notice it quickly,” he told McClatchy News. “It has been a ton of fun. It has allowed the public to interact with us a little more lightheartedly. I’ve had the opportunity to show people my assigned unit and explain, this is my office. Like most people, deputies, officers, firefighters, EMS, all like to decorate our work spaces.”
The clown is “deflated” during service calls “to keep things professional.”
“I forgot this one time,” Arriaza said. “This man, as things go sometimes, was taken to our jail and when I was placing him in the back seat of my unit, he refused to get in. I disconnected the clown and put him away in the back of the unit so there wouldn’t be any issues.”
The clown will be put back in storage after Halloween, but Arriaza says he already has plans for Christmas: The car will be fitted with antlers and a red nose.
(C)2022 The Charlotte Observer.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
RELATED: 911 call about toddler in storm drain leads cops to ‘It’ Halloween prank