A striking photo of a Nebraska State Patrol car with a tornado in the background helped the patrol to win a national best-looking cruiser contest.
The competition, organized by the American Association of State Troopers, was decided by a vote of the public. Voters chose from among a collection of cruisers from state and highway patrols from across the United States.
The contest ran from July 16 through Tuesday.
The photo was taken by Trooper Clint Zost on May 21 near Dawson, Nebraska, which is northwest of Falls City in the southeast corner of the state. The tornado did not cause any significant damage, the patrol noted, but Zost reported it to emergency managers, who activated warning sirens in the area. Zost then shot the photo, which the patrol said went viral on social media.
The photo contest attracted 394,572 votes, said Joan Breeding, director of operations for the state troopers group. Nebraska’s photo had 68,320 votes, she said, followed by Michigan, which garnered 58,463 votes.
The Nebraska photo “was a good shot of the car and the tornado,” Breeding said. “We encouraged departments to be creative … Some of them get into it.”
Col. John Bolduc, superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol, thanked people for voting for the patrol’s entry.
“Trooper Zost’s epic photo of his cruiser with a tornado in the background captured attention around the nation,” Bolduc said, “but it also demonstrates that troopers are out in the elements, working to protect the public even when severe weather strikes.”
The Nebraska photo will be featured on the cover of the 2020 American Association of State Troopers’ calendar. The other agencies that will be represented are from Michigan, New Hampshire, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Missouri, Mississippi, California and Minnesota.
The troopers association supports the families of state troopers across the country, including the families of troopers killed in the line of duty. Proceeds from the calendar go to the AAST Foundation, which financially supports those missions.