- Police Officer
- UPS Delivery
Of course, the real challenge is when the person wearing the uniform to commit bad deeds actually owns the uniform. How can you tell a fake policeman from a real one? First, it's the details. Fake cops don't typically carry all the appropriate gear. They can't provide the name of their watch commander and won't tolerate you wanting to call 911 to verify they are actually a cop. Secondly, people who wear uniforms often drive vehicles with similar markings. A fake UPS guy or telephone repairman would look pretty sill showing up in a Toyota Camry wouldn't they?
As crime authors you can use uniforms in very interesting ways. They are effective tools to deceive your readers and the other characters they interact with. Just as in real life, some witnesses may remember more about the uniform than the man wearing it. Think about the armed robber in the Santa Suit. Would you be surprised if every eye-witness described an old fat guy in a red suit and long white beard? Not much help to detectives is it? As you're writing your next scene you might want to consider how a uniform might add a little depth to the story.
Would a woman more likely open her door to a police officer or a clown? Would a policeman be more likely to give a warning to a priest for speeding, or a UPS driver? There are no absolutes and that's the best part. Our characters can perceive uniforms in any way we choose right? The reader just needs a little back story. A uniform or costume is no different than any other scene element but it might be a lot more subtle. The readers perception might remain unchallenged until that moment you want them spinning on their heels. Those are the moments I remember the most while reading. That moment where my world adjusts in a way I never saw coming; just like Santa sticking a gun in your face.