All cops should have a retreat somewhere within their home — a safe, comfortable escape room. This retreat should be amenable to cat-nap sleeping during odd hours (due to shift work), where you can read, watch TV, or surf the net (at PoliceOne.com, of course), without bothering the rest of the household. Upon retirement, this retreat will serve as your permanent comfort zone, to share with those colleagues, friends, and relatives you choose.
The decoration of a Law Enforcement officer’s retreat is at the sole discretion of the Cave Master. I cannot speak for my sisters of the badge — one of my sisters will need to pen the description of their version of the proper LEO “Woman Cave” — but here’s my thoughts on a proper LEO Man Cave.
Your Own Personal Tastes
A LEO Man Cave will reflect the personality of its master and they come in all varieties. A complicating factor, of course, is that most cops are working stiffs, who must develop their caves on a limited budget. My cave, like many of my LEO friends, runs toward the shooting sports and outdoorsy bent, but not all of us are hunters and fishermen (though I do consider that a character flaw). One cop I know is a NASCAR fan, who commandeered one stall of his garage for his cave, complete with a wet bar and HDTV. My friend Dwain has a beautiful basement cave with a poker table, wet bar and HDTV for watching motor sports and all the professional team sports. My hunting buddy Pat is putting together another basement set-up, with his collection of hunting and cowboy artifacts.
My old partner Mark, in Wyoming, has a basement cave with a collection of dead animals and fish that puts mine to shame. He is a Chief of Police now, and has two Mountain Sheep Rams and a bear rug in his office! A Man Cave at work! I’m so jealous.
Using my cave as an example, all your shooting trophies, plaques, departmental awards, and other “Me Wall” items are perfectly acceptable, even required. Bookshelves are also mandatory, stocked with police training manuals, military, hunting and fishing books (and similar magazines), selected biographies, the complete works of both Joseph Wambaugh and Tom Clancy, and even a bit of poetry. Poetry, you say? In a LEO Man Cave? Yes! History has always honored the “Warrior-Poet” and I feel a well-rounded Law Enforcement Officer should be a student of all things. Take a few moments to check out my personal video and literary recommendations in the sidebar article to the left.
I’m lucky enough to have a two-room LEO Man Cave in my basement, though part of the large room is currently shared with my wife’s silk flower and sewing area — until I eventually move her crap to an empty bedroom upstairs! My main room has animal and fish taxidermy as the primary decorative theme (any PETA-type readers are welcome to click on another article now). My smaller, inner-sanctum is my office and gun/reloading room, where I store most weapons, ammunition and minor gunsmithing tools. A refrigerator for cold drinks and a microwave should be a part of any proper LEO Man Cave, and you should never need to go very far from your cave to drain the beer!
As far as I’m concerned, a leather recliner is mandatory (the high tech ones with massage are especially nice, but beyond my means). Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES, should all the furniture and/or draperies “match.” Anyone who can afford a professionally-decorated, color-coordinated Man Cave must be one of those overpaid Federal Agent or State Trooper types.
Not All About Sitting Around
A treadmill, weight bench, or other exercise equipment is always proper in a Man Cave if you can find room. A gun cabinet is great if you like to show ‘em off, but most of us prefer vaults these days. If you’re not into guns/hunting/fishing, then car-related or college/professional sports memorabilia are perfectly acceptable decorative themes.
DVD and VCR equipment for the HD big screen TV is mandatory, along with a surround sound system with maximum available wattage. If you can’t rattle your neighbor’s windows when you crank up the volume, it ain’t got enough power! I consider a 42-inch TV to be the minimum unless you have a really small cave. Better to have 50 inches or more — there is no maximum size. HD cable or satellite service is also required, though I tend to use very few of the channels; Fox News, the History channel, Discovery, the Outdoor Channel, and sports channels for the NFL and World Series. The LEO Man Cave video library should include such classics as – the entire works of John Wayne, all four Die Hard movies, and the first three “Dirty Harry” movies, just as a starter kit (see my personal video and literary recommendations in the sidebar to the above left).
Other family members are allowed into the Man Cave by invitation only. I allow my wife to watch NFL games on the HD big screen, mostly because she is a great cook and brings food. Since she tolerates, and even occasionally encourages my hunting and fishing trips, I generously allow her to watch an occasional chick-flick on the big screen TV when I’m gone. However, when she recently wove a string of Christmas lights into the antlers of my record-book moose, banishment almost occurred.
No frilly drapes or scented candles are allowed in a LEO Man Cave, unless they produce MAN scents, like the smell of a new leather holster, burnt gunpowder, Hoppe’s #9 gun cleaning solvent, campfire smoke, cooking meat, or wet hunting dogs. The smell of horseshit on leather boots is fine for mounted officers (and a well-used saddle on a rustic stand is also a nice touch). A faint odor of gasoline and motor oil is also acceptable, especially for a LEO Man Cave in a garage.
If I ever sell the Great American Novel or finally snag the winning PowerBall ticket, my cave will be moving to a huge log home sitting in the middle of at least 100,000 acres of deeded land in the western mountains of Wyoming or Montana. Until that time, it will mostly be done on the cheap.
Give us some feedback with your thoughts for the ultimate LEO Man Cave, as well as your recommendations for the literary and video library.