By NADIA PFLAUM
A friend of mine was recently arrested. It’s a long story, and he was telling it over beers in a friend’s backyard. While my friend was briefly detained at the Kansas City Police Department headquarters, he was handcuffed. And the handcuffs were pink.
“Pink? Seriously?” I asked.
“Pink,” he said again.
Later, I called Captain Rich Lockhart, the KCPD spokesman, and asked about pink handcuffs. He sounded appropriately skeptical, but promised to ask around. He called me back several days later.
“The things you find out,” he said, laughing.
Turns out that about a month ago, the KCPD ordered pink handcuffs from their handcuff supplier. When someone gets arrested, they’re brought to police headquarters in the arresting officer’s cuffs. The arresting officer is supposed to take off the handcuffs at the booking desk, where the individual is then placed in a different pair of handcuffs while they wait to be processed.
But the handcuffs at the booking desk kept disappearing. Every office has that thing that keeps disappearing. At The Pitch, it’s the three-hole punch and the bottle opener. At the KCPD, it’s the handcuffs.
So the booking desk had all of its handcuffs spray-painted yellow. But the yellow paint wore off. When they found out the handcuff factory made colored handcuffs, they bought a box of pink ones.
All this was news to Lockhart, too. I asked him if pink was chosen to emasculate angry male detainees, much like the well-known pink-underwear policy enforced by the Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff with whom our sister paper, the Phoenix New Times, has such a warm relationship.
“No, nothing like that,” Lockhart says. “They are not intended to degrade or embarrass anybody – it’s purely to keep the handcuffs separate.”
So if one of your friends comes home from the pokey talking about pink handcuffs, he isn’t crazy. You know, unless he is.