The oddly beautiful and sometimes disturbing artistic talent of the nation’s drug cops

The skeleton swoops into the foreground wearing a tuxedo, top hat and pink-framed glasses. Behind him, a rainbow sky fades into a field of twinkling stars. He holds a syringe in one hand, sending a celebratory squirt of its contents into the air.

It looks like the type of scene you might see on a college dorm room poster celebrating drugs and the counterculture. But in fact, it's an embroidered uniform patch made for members of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Dangerous Drugs Intelligence Unit, a group that monitors major drug trafficking organizations. And it's just one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of colorful and sometimes bizarre patches manufactured for various DEA divisions and task forces over the years.

Patches aren't unique to the DEA -- there are program and mission patches associated with many federal agencies and programs. One expert estimates there are 20,000 in existence today, some of which are historic relics and others in use. The most famous may be the patches made for NASA's shuttle missions. But in the universe of federal patches, the DEA's stand out for their outlandishness, as well as for showing a lighter, even flamboyant side of an agency that often presents itself as straight-laced and straight-edged...



No comments:

Post a Comment