Paddywagon cannibalism behind the Metro station

Where police vehicles go to die, they tend to be stripped for parts to keep the large fleet of law enforcement vehicles on the road.

Where cop cars go when they die

photos by Eric Jackson

The police vehicle maintenance center is behind the Albrook Metro station. It does not exude the aura of spit and polish of a police department that wants to be an army — it looks more like a haphazard junkyard. In fact, that’s part of what it is. When police vehicles die, the useful parts tend to be reused to keep the law enforcement fleet running.

It’s an interesting habitat if you are a cat, but in recent years the National Police have had a cooperative relationship with Spay Panama to keep the feline population of this place under control. There isn’t much need for junk yard dogs, as this is, after all, a police facility that your garden variety maleante will hesitated to loot.


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The sign forbids people to walk through this gate, but this reporter has seen people doing that.


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With the same “canvas” as the diablos rojos, police culture is austere.


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In case of spontaneous revolution, they try to keep a good backup supply of riot squad vehicles ready.


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If there is a great fire or big natural disaster, these caps removed from pickup trucks converted into paddywagons might be quickly pressed into service as parts of temporary shelters from the elements.


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