“I will reveal that I wear skinny jeans off-duty.”
- Detective Rick Lee
Hipster Policing didn’t just start with the NYPD’s Detective Rick Lee (Community Affairs, First Precinct), nor with Al Pacino’s portrayal of Frank Serpico in Sidney Lumet’s 1973 film Serpico. Although the phenomenon’s profile is now raised thanks to Detective Rick Lee’s presence at the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City, it would be erroneous to imagine that Mr. Lee is its non plus ultra. He is nothing if not the heir to a lengthy and rich history, dating back past punks, hippies, beatniks and Zoot suit rioters to the very origins of the hipster itself.
Here we aim to illuminate the complicated relationship between the hipster cop and the community he or she serves, as well as his or her superiors, and the criminal element. We’ll consider the hipster cop’s portrayal in film, literature and art - is the hipster cop a lonely anti-hero doing his or her best in a corrupt system, or a hapless tool of the powers that be?