Restored 90s HPD patrol car draws attention at HPOU

Tom Kennedy

Funny but a number of HPOU members eyed Officer Jason Knox’ labor of love in the Union parking lot as if they wanted to buy a new patrol car.

Actually, Knox was treating his fellow HPD officers to a thrill from yesteryear – a totally restored blue “whale” patrol car from the 1990s.

Knox, who loves to restore vintage automobiles, also loves HPD history. He purchased the police issue in California and has spent countless hours in his spare time making it look like an HPD original.

He couldn’t wait to add the final coat of HPD blue paint as well as the installation of the red lights, siren and vintage decals so he could beam with pride as he “showed off” the whale-shaped automobile at the March general membership meeting.

Knox, a one-time Public Affairs officer now assigned to Fox, also donned a 1990s HPD uniform to add authenticity.

He said he enjoyed the experience, delighted that so many officers/Union members stopped to take pictures.

“It went over very well,” a still-excited Knox told the Badge & Gun. “A lot of officers, supervisors and everybody came by and it really brought back a lot of memories from a different time in our department.

“I think it was a good idea to have some remembrance of where we were in the past. I think the (patrol car) really captured that. There were lots of photographs and sharing of old war stories. I heard one officer say, ‘I remember getting involved in a chase with this type of car.’ ”

He plans to see that the vintage vehicle is used in parades and other HPD-related events, such as Police Week activities.

“I also want to show the vehicle with Houston auto show in the fall and local parades like Thanksgiving and the Livestock Show and Rodeo – any outlet where we generate positive PR for the department, even officer retirements. If anyone wants me to bring it by for a photo op, I’ll be happy to do so.”

Knox’ enthusiasm spills over into the Houston Police Museum on the first floor of 1200 Travis. He understands that lack of space prevents the display of the car but hopes things change some way or another one of these days.

His efforts to bring historic vehicular figures to the department.

“I’m talking to a guy right now about a 1980s boxy-space Caprice in San Antonio,” Knox explained. “I’m in negotiations to acquire that car for restoration. It will take a couple of years to fully marked patrol car status. It will take time and money. If there are any officers out there who wanna be a part of that project, they should reach out to me.”

Knox wanted to make it clear that he was not able to get this latest project done by himself. “The Union really helped out big-time,” he said. “I want to issue a personal thank you to the entire Union board and Joe (Gamaldi) for helping out with the project restoring history to HPD.”