April 4

To Protect and Serve: Lessons from Three Decades on Patrol with Michel Kershner

The life of a police officer is often dramatized and glamorized on TV shows like 9-1-1, leaving many with an inaccurate picture of what the job truly entails. Michel Kershner, a 30-year veteran of the police force, sets the record straight as he pulls back the curtain and reveals the realities of a law enforcement career. Not to mention, his deep appreciation for a certain iconic police vehicle.

From Admiration to Cultural Shock

Michel’s initial interest in becoming a police officer stemmed from admiring his uncle’s state trooper uniform. As a child, he was taken aback by the respect it commanded. Then, after serving in the Marine Corps as an adult, his expectations of police work were met with a harsh reality check. He went on to join the police force and encountered what he called, “an absolute culture shock.”

“As an average citizen, you walk around blind to really what's going on in society. When you walk into law enforcement, you go behind the curtains and you see the worst of the worst, sometimes the best of the best.”

“You can't honestly and truly prepare for it. It is a show every day. You just got to hang on for the ride.” - Michel Kershner

One major disconnect between the duties Michel performs and the police work portrayed on television is how investigations are condensed into neatly packaged episodes. Cases get solved in a matter of hours, or sooner. According to him, reality is a much more arduous process.

“I mean, it's great that they show some of the resources we have and some of the investigative tools we use that excite people or intrigue them. When it comes down to it, though, it is really a grinding is what it is. True law enforcement is boots on the ground, walking the streets, interacting, talking to people when you're conducting an investigation.”

“You really can't see the gruesome, the ugly parts.” - Michel Kershner 

A Calling, Not Just a Job

With such enormous responsibilities and emotionally-charged scenarios, Michel believes that law enforcement is a calling that requires a genuine desire to serve others. Not just simply punching a clock. He stresses that another aspect television fails to capture are the difficulties officers face when making initial contact with victims or witnesses.

That’s especially true in heart-wrenching situations like notifying the parents of a homicide victim. Police are often met with hostility and blame, and forced to earn trust in order to conduct a thorough investigation.

“I mean, they want resolution. They want answers. They want the results. They want a conclusion and justice immediately. And understandably so. It doesn't work that way, as I indicated earlier. But when you approach them, you know, sometimes you're the victim of their outlet. They instantly want to go after you. You're responsible for it all.”

"Don't come into it with this gung-ho attitude that you have all the answers... Every incident has its own unique characteristics and those need to be respected.”

“What you learn in the academy, throw it away when you hit the streets. Open your ears, open your eyes, shut your mouth and learn." - Michel Kershner

Michel Kershner image

Michel Kershner

Crown Victoria vs Dodge Charger

Of course, any great police discussion would be incomplete without noting the automotive icons that have lined the streets for decades. In particular, Michel was effusive in his praise for the Ford Crown Victoria, referring to it as an indestructible "tank." The stalwart model allowed him to survive multiple high-speed pursuits and head-on collisions over his lengthy career.

2014 Dodge Charger BEFORE

2014 Dodge Charger (BEFORE)

2014 Dodge Charger BEFORE

While acknowledging the technological improvements ushered in by modern cruisers like the Dodge Charger, his fondness for the Crown Vic's durability is unshakable. In fact, Kershner's first major purchase on the Municibid platform was a 2003 Crown Victoria that he gleefully drove for over 15 years. Even better, only basic maintenance was ever required. His more recent acquisition has been a 2014 Charger (complete with some police accessories).

2014 Dodge Charger

2014 Dodge Charger (AFTER)

The Crown Victoria's Indestructibility

Driving is a big part of being a police officer, something Michel knows first-hand. Not only has he been locked into high-speed pursuits, but he has also crashed his cruiser before. Twice. Once was intentional.

“I actually, during a pursuit, suffice to say, took it directly, head on impact into a wall and actually still was able to drive off. I mean, it damaged it pretty well. It ended up having to be reconstructed, but yeah, [the Crown Vic’s] a tank.”

“I wrecked that car twice. I actually was in another pursuit, and I was going about 40 miles an hour backwards, and I intentionally smashed into the other car to pin the driver in the car because they were shooting out of it at myself and my partner who was in my vehicle.” - Michel Kershner

A Passion for Serving

Despite the challenges and pressures of the job, Michel finds enjoyment in the strong "blue family" bond that allows officers to mentor the newest recruits, passing along lessons learned. In fact, he takes pride in his tight-knit community of professionals across the nation, demonstrated by his impressive collection of uniform patches from all 50 states. 

He desires to see law enforcement continuously elevate its standards and solidify public trust. That means civilians showing their support and compassion for officers, who are human like they are, and for officers to respect the dignity of those they encounter. All in all, Michel’s philosophy serves as a blueprint for forging stronger police-community relations built on mutual empathy and understanding.

“My motto is always treat every person you approach the way you would expect to be treated.” - Michel Kershner

Transcript »

[Sophie Eden] (0:01 - 0:09)

And have you driven a Ford Crown Victoria through a wall or anything?

[Michel Kershner] 

Yes.

[Narrator] (0:10 - 0:30)

Join us as we dive into the wild world of government auctions and take you behind the scenes to uncover the cool and unique ways bidders from across America are utilizing the items they've won on Municibid. Like an ambulance repurposed into a work truck, to a city bus converted into an RV, and so much more.

Welcome to the Municibid Podcast.

[Sophie Eden] (0:31 - 0:36)

Thank you so much, Michel, for joining me today.

[Michel Kershner] (0:36 - 0:36)

My pleasure.

[Sophie Eden] (0:37 - 0:43)

Can you start us off by introducing yourself and what you do?

[Michel Kershner] (0:44 - 0:49)

My name is Michel Kirshner, and I'm a police officer for 30 years and going.

[Sophie Eden] (0:51 - 0:55)

What made you decide to become a police officer?

[Michel Kershner] (0:56 - 1:29)

Initially, my uncle, he's a since retired Pennsylvania State Police Trooper. When I was very young, I saw him in uniform and just the respect he commanded and got in public and everything else. I envied that.

But later on, I found out everything that it entailed and the fact of helping everyone. I know it sounds kind of cliche that everybody says it, but that was my whole intent, to serve and promote the best in society and resolve those problems that I could.

[Sophie Eden] (1:30 - 1:46)

Were your expectations going into the police work field the same as what it turned out to be in reality, or were things quite different than what you thought they were going to be like?

[Michel Kershner] (1:46 - 2:21)

It was a definite culture shock. I initially went into the Marine Corps, so I had some structure and discipline going into law enforcement. But, no, it was an absolute culture shock.

Just as an average citizen, you walk around blind to really what's going on in society. When you walk into law enforcement, you go behind the curtains and you see the worst of the worst, sometimes the best of the best. It is a shock.

You can't honestly and truly prepare for it. It is a show every day. You just got to hang on for the ride.

[Sophie Eden] (2:22 - 2:46)

And the TV shows, like 9-1-1, that are out there and how they portray the police field, would you say there's parts of that that are a little bit accurate to what it's like in reality? And what are the areas that you think that the public doesn't understand about police work and that you wish they did?

[Michel Kershner] (2:47 - 3:50)

Well, obviously, it's a dramatization when it comes to television. And they can't necessarily report things accurately because you have to shield the public. Obviously, it has to remain PG when it's mainstream media and television.

You really can't see the gruesome, the ugly parts. As far as in the way they portray law enforcement, again, it's glamorized. It's not like that at all.

I mean, it's great that they show some of the resources we have and some of the investigative tools we use that excite people or intrigue them. When it comes down to it, though, it is really a grinding is what it is. True law enforcement is boots on the ground, walking the streets, interacting, talking to people when you're conducting an investigation.

It isn't as simple as a phone call or tips pouring like crazy. No, it's hard work. It truly is.

And you can't solve a crime in 30 minutes or an hour. It takes a lot longer than that.

[Sophie Eden] (3:51 - 4:02)

Oh, yeah. I bet the TV is definitely a much more condensed, and, simpler version than reality.

[Michel Kershner] (4:02 - 4:34)

And unfortunately, some people in public, in society, they'll grasp onto that saying, why isn't the crime that was committed against my child or a family member or whomever, why isn't it solved like yesterday? Why is it taking so long? It drags in weeks, drag in the months, possibly into years.

People don't understand. It's not scripted. This is real life.

It's not scripted. You have to, there's a lot, again, there's a lot that goes into it and TV gives a lot of people a false narrative to it.

[Sophie Eden] (4:34 - 4:51)

Did you go into the police field then from the Marine have a mentor that helped guide you into, I mean, you mentioned you had a culture shock, into the culture and into the reality of policing?

[Michel Kershner] (4:52 - 6:36)

As far as in going from the military into law enforcement, no, there was no one to hold my hand per se and walk me or guide me. But once you're in the field, there is, as everyone calls it, the blue line or the blue family. There are some officers that were further on in their careers, just didn't want to be bothered with anybody, especially a rookie.

And they'd just tell you, hey, figure it out on your own and go about their miserable ways, literally. But then again, I've had in the course of my career, in the beginning, that I've had mentors, gentlemen that have, and ladies that have taken their time and said, hey, you know what? This has worked for me.

Take from my experiences and my training. This may work for you. And you take from each individual that you've interacted with and you develop your own skills.

You hone your skills based on what everybody else has provided to you. And I've since, I've been a field training officer, my God, over 12 years, if not more. And again, my police technique might not work for the next individual, but I will give them my experience and education.

And they can take from that. They can derive from that anything that they feel they can work with and take off with. It's an ever evolving career, I should say.

Every day is different. You cannot become complacent. You can't think that you're going to solve everything the same way.

Everything brings its own unique elements. So it's never, hey, I'm going to go in today and this is what's going to happen. No, it's hang on for the ride.

This day is going to dictate what your day is going to be about.

[Sophie Eden] (6:38 - 6:48)

What are some of the changes that have happened through the course of your career that you think have been very beneficial for the police field?

[Michel Kershner] (6:48 - 7:51)

Unfortunately, in order to get to the better side, law enforcement had to come under so much scrutiny and some of it justifiably so with police officers, because they are human beings making errors, making decisions that cost people their lives, unfortunately. But within that, when we were under the microscope and really being criticized and attacked, at the same time, there were people that took the time to say, hey, you know what? Maybe we're looking at this the wrong way.

And those people come out of woodworks. Typically, the average citizen just sits back in their home, watching TV, gets up, goes to work, goes on about their life, not thinking about the officer that's out there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the coverage that's in their community and what have not. There's somebody out there ready to defend their life until, like I said, we come under the microscope with mistakes and this and that.

And then they're sitting in their living rooms like, wow, I'm sitting here watching a TV program. I'm safe because I have an officer in my community patrolling.

[Sophie Eden] (7:52 - 8:09)

And was that support, like, how did that support play out in training, in like resources, either financial or like human resources, or how did that, yeah, how did you receive that support and how did that help?

[Michel Kershner] (8:09 - 8:50)

When there was a time not too long ago that people were just approaching officers and saying, thank you for your service. We appreciate you. Or if you were, if we were sitting down in a restaurant during a break, you know, catching dinner or lunch or whatever the shift was, get somebody to come up and offer to pay for the meal.

And, you know, officers, we were taken back by that when that started happening. It's like, wow, I mean, maybe we really are appreciated. Maybe there isn't this, everybody in the general public and society hates us.

And that became reassuring that, you know what, these are the people we do this for.

[Sophie Eden] (8:51 - 9:10)

Wow. That's very sweet. That brings back a more community focus of being in touch with the people like yourselves that are serving and protecting the community and the community recognizing that and supporting you in the work that you're doing.

[Michel Kershner] (9:10 - 9:41)

It definitely put a bridge where there was a break. It really did. And, you know, maybe law enforcement could have done more to bridge that gap and initiated more things within the community.

But then again, we have departments that have limited resources. So to have community oriented police officer or functions, it's just not feasible. But again, you know, it takes both sides to bridge the gap.

[Sophie Eden] (9:43 - 10:06)

In your investigative work, when you were approaching and talking with people, did you find that a lot of them had a wrong misconception about who a police officer is? Or did you find in talking with them that they, like, did they understand your role and appreciate that at the time?

[Michel Kershner] (10:06 - 11:41)

For the most part, no. When you're meeting a stranger for the first time, okay, first you walk in, you're in full uniform, you're in this authoritative position. When you approach somebody that you're conducting, let's use a homicide as an example, you're approaching the parents of the deceased.

I mean, they want resolution. They want answers. They want the results.

They want a conclusion and justice immediately. And understandably so. It doesn't work that way, as I indicated earlier.

But when you approach them, you know, sometimes you're the victim of their outlet. They instantly want to go after you. You're responsible for it all.

You're the reason why this happened. You should have been there to prevent this from happening. Meanwhile, you were nowhere around at that time.

I mean, it might not even have been your shift. You know, whatever the circumstances were, you can't be everywhere all the time. But when you interact with them, you try and empathize, sympathize, and humanize the badge.

Because when you first walk in the door, you're not greeted very well at all. You really aren't. You really have to gain their confidence and their trust and, you know, tell them, hey, I'm here to resolve this for you.

I'm going to do what I'm paid to do. And hopefully that works. I mean, sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes you just meet, you're constantly met with resistance that, you know, you're useless. You're not going to do anything for them. You're not going to bring my child back, which you're never going to bring somebody's child back.

But hopefully you can bring some peace, some closure.

[Sophie Eden] (11:42 - 12:02)

Yeah, that's a very rough situation to walk into and handle. And for people that are considering going into law enforcement, what's something that you wish they would know in order to help prepare them for handling situations like you described?

[Michel Kershner] (12:02 - 13:01)

Well, you definitely have to go into it with thick skin. You can't let everything get under your skin. I mean, you definitely have to open your heart and have compassion, empathy, and sympathy, as I stated.

But when somebody attacks you, whether, whatever the circumstances are, they feel justified in doing so. You have to bite your tongue, thicken your skin, and accept it and understand why it's coming at you. Don't take it personal.

But overall, there are too many officers now coming out of the academies that are doing it for the wrong reasons. You know, I want a paycheck, you know, and I want the prestige. I want the respect.

And I demand these things and, you know, to flatter somebody of the opposite sex because they're in a position of authority. And it's wrong. Those need to be weeded out.

But there are still a lot of great officers on the street.

[Sophie Eden] (13:03 - 13:14)

And I can't help but notice in the background, you have a plaque of many different badges. Can you share the meaning of those badges?

[Michel Kershner] (13:14 - 14:09)

Well, this here is a collection of all 50 states in the United States. These are all state police related patches. These are uniform patches.

I forget what year I collected these. But then I have a collection of, I would say over 2,000 patches of law enforcement across the country. I belong to several sites.

And we have, it's something that officers do to share the camaraderie, stories and, you know, their department with the rest of the world, with the rest of the country. So we either buy, sell or trade. Typically, it's trading.

If you've been in the field long enough, we do trading. We don't expect any kind of compensation or anything else. We actually trade patch for patch or specialty patches.

It's really an interesting hobby.

[Sophie Eden] (14:10 - 14:45)

That's wonderful. And a very great memorial and testament to the police work that you and many others are doing. So you've driven, I would assume, a lot of police cars in your work over the decades.

What are your thoughts on the different types of and different models of police vehicles that are used in the field and how they've changed since you entered the police force to today?

[Michel Kershner] (14:46 - 15:48)

Well, I'm old school, so my all-time favorite will no doubt be the P-71 Crown Victoria. There was no better ship on the road for every purpose. I wasn't the greatest in the winter.

I'm in Pennsylvania, personally. So at times, you know, our winters would incapacitate the vehicles. Not too bad, but it would take a lot of them out of commission.

So I'm very pro P-71 Crown Victoria, although they've gone to the wayside. I've been fortunate enough to drive everything that's been issued since then. Chevys, Fords, Dodge. Dodge being the most recent with the hemi chargers.

We had to evolve. Getting away from a crime vehicle when it came to inner city speeds. I mean, highway crime vehicle takes anything down from here to California.

So we had to evolve and get faster cars. And I'm pleased with the hemi chargers. I'm pleased with them.

They're definitely, you're not going to get away. And if you do, I still have a radio.

[Sophie Eden] (15:49 - 15:53)

Yes. Radio definitely beats everything in the speed of sound.

[Michel Kershner] (15:54 - 16:03)

Yes. Yes. As long as you have the right dispatcher on the other end, which knock on wood, I have had amazing dispatchers in my career.

[Sophie Eden] (16:04 - 16:12)

Fantastic. Can you share what the favorite auction has been that you've won on Municibid?

[Michel Kershner] (16:12 - 17:10)

I've been involved since way back. And the most recent purchase actually is a 2014 all-wheel drive hemi charger, retired police vehicle. But since its inception, I've purchased a ton of items and not one thing have I been displeased with.

My last vehicle that I purchased from Municibid was a 2003 police crime Victoria. And I had that vehicle for over 15 years and didn't have to do anything with regular maintenance, brakes, fluids, stuff like that. It ran like a beast.

And I had that shipped from Coulee Dam, Washington, the state of Washington. I had it shipped clear cross-country because I just liked the appearance of it. And I thought, you know what, I'll give it a try.

And I owned it for so many years. And like I said, I didn't have to do anything with that vehicle.

[Sophie Eden] (17:11 - 17:24)

That's fantastic. Because I think there is a conception with like retired police vehicles of like they've been running to the ground and like that they're heavily abused.

[Michel Kershner] (17:25 - 18:19)

No, with the purchase of any vehicle, you definitely have to do your due diligence. I know municipalities are putting on the site to get rid of their headaches. But overall, I don't have any complaints at all from the purchases that I've made.

But you have to do your due diligence. I mean, there are vehicles that are small town vehicles where most of their time is spent idling. And idling actually is more detrimental on a vehicle's engine than one that's used on a highway, you know, flying 80 miles an hour a day, you know, all day long for eight hours.

So you definitely have to do your due diligence as if, you know, you're buying a used car from a dealership. But I have no complaints.

[Sophie Eden] (18:20 - 18:42)

Yeah. And sounds like with the police fleet vehicles that like they've been regularly maintained, you know, on a schedule. Between the Crown Victoria and the Dodge Charger, what would you say is your favorite difference between the two?

[Michel Kershner] (18:42 - 19:43)

The Crown Vic, again, I spent most of my career in, is a boat. It's luxury, but at the same time, performance, response, and it just had a command presence. No matter where it went, you knew, hey, that's a police car.

The newer vehicles, they're sharp. They've got a lot of dress to them. They've got to look fancy with their markings and everything else.

I mean, you're comparing a tank and a boat, you know, the tank is the Crown Vic. It'll go through anything. It'll sink or swim sometimes.

I mean, there are some Ford SUVs that have proven to be just absolute garbage, you know, with engine problems straight from the factory and that, you know, you just got to roll with it. It becomes an expense on our department, but you know, you got to still have your fleet.

[Sophie Eden] (19:44 - 19:50)

And have you driven a Ford Crown Victoria through a wall or anything?

[Michel Kershner] (19:51 - 20:24)

Yes. Have you been reading my bio or something or looked up my name on Google? Because it's there.

Yes. I actually, during a pursuit, I, yes, I will just, suffice to say, yes, I took it directly, head on impact into a wall and actually still was able to drive off. I mean, it damaged it pretty well.

It ended up having to be reconstructed, but yeah, it's a tank.

[Sophie Eden] (20:25 - 20:32)

Would you like to share more about that story? Was this, I'm assuming, a pursuit chase that you were doing?

[Michel Kershner] (20:32 - 22:20)

Yes. Yes. I was just sitting at the border of my town and a town over, and it's a main thoroughfare that traveled between the two of our towns, and I was sitting on a stop sign.

It's a stop sign that people frequently ran, but I had myself positioned primarily out in the open where somebody would say, oh, you know what, I'm not going to run the stop sign this time. There's a cop sitting right there. Well, this guy decided, okay, there's a cop there.

He come up to the stop sign and decided to do a burnout. You know, just say, hey, catch me if you can in your Crown Victoria. So he started spinning the tires, so I flicked on the lights real quick and then shut them back off just to say, you know what, we're not going to play this game.

Okay, you had your fun. You got my attention. Now knock it off.

That wasn't enough for him. He actually wanted a pursuit, so I obliged. So we went all throughout my town and into the next, and let's just say we were well beyond posted speed limits.

Thankfully, it was real early in the morning, late at night, early in the morning, like two, three o'clock, so there wasn't any pedestrian traffic or motor vehicle traffic. Pursuit lasted a ways, and like I said, towards the conclusion, ended up smashing into a wall head on, but the car survived. My department, unfortunately, decided to rebuild it.

I wish they would have just got rid of it at that point so we can get new ones, but they put the money in that one, and I drove as soon as it returned.

[Sophie Eden] (22:23 - 22:24)

Oh, gosh.

[Michel Kershner] (22:24 - 23:10)

I actually wrecked that car twice. I wrecked that car twice. I actually was in another pursuit, and I was going about 40 miles an hour backwards, and I intentionally smashed into the other car to pin the driver in the car because they were shooting out of it at myself and my partner who was in my vehicle.

It would be hard to explain the necessity for the circumstances of using my vehicle as a weapon, but I had to. I smashed it back into that very same car. That happened before the head-on with the wall, but they put it back together, and again, mechanically, it was sound enough for me to get in that following pursuit to take it into the wall.

[Sophie Eden] (23:10 - 23:21)

Wow. Yeah, that's a true testament to the strength and the endurance of the Crown Victoria, surviving two crashes like that. Absolutely.

[Michel Kershner] (23:22 - 23:55)

Yeah, these cars nowadays, you hit something. There's so much plastic to them, and everything's so computerized and everything else, you can't use duct tape to put it back together. These vehicles nowadays are just so expensive, and there's so much back order for any repairs for them that you could wreck a vehicle with a minor damage, what would be considered in the civilian world minor damage.

Your vehicle will be out of service for months.

[Sophie Eden] (23:57 - 24:14)

Gosh. Can you talk a bit about some of the police equipment and the modifications that the police department makes to outfit their fleet vehicles for service?

[Michel Kershner] (24:14 - 26:27)

Well, the best piece of equipment is the human being, the mind. You have to constantly attend training. Don't just become complacent and just think, I'm just going to ride this career out.

You're not doing anybody any good. You're doing a disservice to the public and yourself just to do it for a paycheck. So, first and foremost, the equipment that needs the most attention is the person wearing the badge.

As far as equipment-wise, since I've started, we've gone through so many different things. As an example, like the taser, the X26, then you go to the phazzer, then you go to the new taser. That's constantly evolving, and I don't support that.

I carry that piece of equipment because I'm certified to, but I wouldn't use a Taser. Garbage. As far as the equipment in a vehicle, that's constantly progressing.

That's a mobile office. There is so much equipment, whether you have a radar, your MDT, which is your mobile data terminal, license plate readers, which have been a godsend. You'd have to wait until you were behind a vehicle to radio in and say, hey, run this information, whereas these new license plate readers, you can be driving down a road of 45 miles an hour in the opposite direction and catch a plate going the other way, and you can have your system set to look for warrants only, registrations only, insurance only, or just leave the field open and you're running everything. You can get warrants on registered owners. It's amazing technology that you can get just from a license plate reader.

If you are going in the opposite direction, the technology is so advanced that by the time you turn around, that system can tell you where that car should be in proximity to you based on the travel time between you and that vehicle. It's amazing how it's evolved.

[Sophie Eden] (26:28 - 26:34)

That is incredible. Wow. Huge advantage for the work that you're doing. Wow, that's amazing.

[Michel Kershner] (26:35 - 26:36)

They're ingenious.

[Sophie Eden] (26:36 - 26:53)

And the Dodge Charger that you won on Municibid, with you being a police officer, did that come with some of the police equipment? Or was it stripped bare when you picked it up?

[Michel Kershner] (26:54 - 27:44)

No. As I said, doing your due diligence. So I called the department.

I spoke directly to the chief and I said, you know what, what equipment do you still have in it? You know, what is coming with it? What isn't, you know, and my being law enforcement, they left a little more equipment in it that they know I would not abuse or subject myself to any criminal prosecution, you know, portraying to be a police officer, which I am.

The vehicle that I purchased came with the police push bar on the front. It came with obviously the police spotlight. It came with the partition, the cage.

It came with an AR rifle rack in the front and a shotgun mount in the trunk. That's about it as far as equipment-wise. As far as lighting or anything else, that was all stripped out.

[Sophie Eden] (27:44 - 27:47)

How are you enjoying your Dodge Charger these days?

[Michel Kershner] (27:48 - 28:25)

Even though I did my due diligence, overall mechanically and cosmetically, it was sound. But I ended up with the infamous Hemi tick, is what it's called for the motor. And because Dodge Chargers have a cam issue.

Well, unfortunately, I ended up having the cam issue where the cam almost literally broke in two. And the department couldn't know that. I mean, it's just, it's hit and miss with Dodge.

And most of them actually go out in the mileage that I got mine anyway, which I got it with over 130,000 miles. So I had to redo the motor.

[Sophie Eden] (28:26 - 28:34)

Glad you were able to resolve that issue with it and have some fun with it now today.

[Michel Kershner] (28:35 - 28:36)

Oh, I'm still, I still am.

[Sophie Eden] (28:38 - 28:59)

Is there anything else that you'd like to share either about police vehicles or the police field? I think particularly for people listening that have an interest either in owning a retired police car or getting into police work, but haven't had experience in it.

[Michel Kershner] (29:00 - 33:06)

As far as the purchase of police equipment, as in anything you buy used, do your due diligence and research and educate yourself about it. You know, just don't go, Oh, wow, you know, that's a police hemi charger. I want that because I know they're fast and they're built indestructible.

Well, no, nothing's indestructible. And, you know, do your due diligence and look into it, ask questions, ask for the maintenance records, which 99% of departments keep a thorough record of it. But overall, I would purchase a retired law enforcement vehicle before I would purchase any used vehicle, especially from private citizen.

As you figure, by the time they're done with the vehicle, there's something wrong with it to the point either they don't want to invest the money or they're just going to pass the headache on to somebody else. Whereas a police department, they're not going to do that. They can't do that.

I mean, they put an unsafe vehicle out on the road. There's going to be consequences. Not only that, I mean, you have maintenance records, whereas you wouldn't from a private seller.

So definitely hands down, I would say 99% of my vehicles over the last 20 years have been retired police vehicles. And there's no exaggeration with that. I mean, from city of North Carolina, there was a city in North Carolina, I forget the name of it.

I bought six of their cars from Municibid. I bought their fleet. They were retiring.

I bought their whole fleet. And needless to say, I made a pretty penny. I bought one.

It was a canine car. It didn't even have a backseat in it. I took a few of my friends down and drove all the cars back.

They were all roadworthy. Got back here, pulled them in my driveway and then around the neighborhood too. Obviously, there wasn't enough adequate parking in my driveway.

But one vehicle I sold to a local fire department for the fire chief to use. I think I paid $800 for the car, sold it to them for $2,500. I didn't have to do anything but drive it back from North Carolina.

It was mechanically A1 sound. I didn't have to do anything to the car but say, here it is. You know what?

You need a backseat. That's it. As far as the career of law enforcement, I really wish they would do more thorough backgrounds on individuals.

Psychologically, because again, there are so many that are getting into this field for the wrong reasons. The wrong reasons. It's all about them and not about what they can contribute back to society, back to their communities.

I guess that's why most departments do a preference hire with veterans because there is structure. There is discipline. They know they're going to do what they're told to do.

However, there's a downside to that. You get some of them coming back with post-traumatic stress disorder or other ailments and they snap. It's a very sensitive field.

There needs to be more background in a lot of these individuals. There really does. In the same regard, society as well as departments got to understand we're still human beings.

Although we're held to a higher standard and a lot of things, you do have to give us room to be human beings. There's things that we do on our own time to decompress that other people would say, hey, you know what? That's unbecoming of an officer to do things like that.

Well, you know what? Give me time to breathe. Be a human being.

Take my uniform off. Hang it up and just live a life. It definitely takes a unique individual to be in this field for the right reasons and doing the right thing.

[Sophie Eden] (33:06 - 33:37)

You mentioned earlier about how the community showed their support for police officers by buying you a meal when you were out in a restaurant. Do you think there's something that the community could do to support on this side of encouraging the right people to join the police force for the right reasons?

[Michel Kershner] (33:37 - 35:52)

I really couldn't say there's one set methodology, if you could put it that way. You're dealing with individuals. You've got so many different personalities to deal with and everything else.

It's just so hard to say, hey, we're looking for this particular individual. You can't do that either because then you're sending an alpha attitude individual, you know, set thing to go out and deal with a ton of other different personalities and you can't do that either. Actually, the biggest thing about law enforcement, you know, and this is behind the curtains, is officers such as myself being in for 30 years, I can spot a bad egg coming into my profession.

I can spot a bad egg that's either going to cost the department a ton of money in lawsuits for violation of people's rights or take somebody's life. We need to be protected as, for lack of better words, whistleblowers saying, hey, chief, you know, that's a bad egg you hired. You need to really do your due diligence and look more into this individual, keep an eye on this individual.

But unfortunately, since politics has now tainted the waters of law enforcement, there's so much nepotism that you can't say anything because you don't know if you're talking about somebody's son, daughter, nephew, cousin. We live in a fishbowl when we're driving down the road. We're constantly under the public scrutiny and everything else.

But the best person to evaluate another police officer is a police officer, but we can't say anything. We have to shut up as much as some of us would want to say, hey, like I said, that's a bad egg. You can't.

You're going to be the one that's on the outside looking in. You're going to lose your job.

[Sophie Eden] (35:53 - 36:22)

Definitely a lot of complexities going on for the police officers like yourself that have been in the field for decades. What recommendations would you give to new people coming in to help them build up the endurance to be able to serve for 30 years like yourself?

[Michel Kershner] (36:22 - 37:31)

Well, don't come into it with this gung-ho attitude that you have the answers, you have the solution to everybody's problems. It's constantly evolving. Be able to adapt, be able to stand in that person's shoes and look at things from their perspective.

If I walk into a situation and I have this chip on my shoulder, like I'm going to resolve this issue, this is the way it needs to be done, yada, yada, yada. I'm doing everybody a disservice. Every incident has its own unique characteristics and those need to be respected and you need to adjust your policing accordingly.

You can't just, when you're in academy, hey, here's the black and white version of what's out there. No. I'll say like any other officer that's got as many years as I do, some even learn sooner.

What you learn in the academy, throw it away when you hit the streets. Open your ears, open your eyes, shut your mouth and learn.

[Sophie Eden] (37:32 - 37:45)

Thank you so much, Mike, for sharing your story and sharing the human side behind police work and very grateful for your service in protecting our communities.

[Michel Kershner] (37:45 - 38:04)

Thank you very much. And my motto is always treat every person you approach the way you would expect to be treated. 

Thank you for tuning in to the Municibid podcast. If you'd like to learn more about the world of government surplus, be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Last Updated on April 4, 2024


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