Ciao Lodi! … my name is Paolo Vittorini and I am a police officer in the Italian State Police (Polizia di Stato) on duty in Lodi, Italy. I enjoy reading the articles published on LODI360 by the Lodi, CA Police Department. Recently Lt. Chris Piombo and Cpl. Dale Eubanks kindly exchanged police shoulder patches with me, for which I am very grateful.
Let me tell you something about our police patches and share a little history about Lodi, Italy.
The red one with the black panther is the official patch of “Squadra Volante” which is a part of the “Ufficio Prevenzione Generale” (General Prevention Office). Their duty is to patrol city streets. They usually drive ALFA Romeo 159 cars detailed with the white outline of a panther.
The second patch is blue with a winged centaur. It is the official patch of the “Polizia Stradale” who patrol the freeways, interstates and country road system. They drive station wagons of different makes including ALFA Romeos, Volvo’s, BMW’s, Audi’s, Renault’s, Subaru’s, etc.
All police patches like these are worn on the left side of the uniform. Many officers also pin a similar metal badge with the same logo on their left front pocket.
There are actually seven different police forces in Italy:
1) Polizia di Stato (State Police)
2) Carabinieri (Military Corp)
3) Polizia Locale (Municipal Police)
4) Polizia Provinciale (Environmental Provincial Police)
5) Corpo Forestale dello Stato (Environmental State Police)
6) Polizia Penitenziaria (Correctional Facility State Police)
7) Guardia di Finanza (Taxes)
The Polizia di Stato (State Police) drive Lamborghini’s that are specifically used for urgent dispatching of transplantation organs. These cars were donated to the Police by Lamborghini. The State Police is the main police force in Italy and do everything concerning police duties: traffic, investigations, patrol, weapons, passports, computer/internet crimes, public order, etc.
Carabinieri are a military armed force that does the same things of the State Police, but have a station/office in almost every city, town and village of Italy. They are everywhere.
The Polizia Locale (Local Police) are mostly traffic officers in town. They drive white vehicles with a green line along the borders, as every Local Police in Lombardy (each municipality has its own).
Polizia Provinciale and Corpo Forestale dello Stato do almost the same thing: environment control, pollution, animals, etc. The first locally, the second nationwide.
Polizia Penitenziaria work nationwide in the Correctional Facilities of Italy.
Guardia di Finanza are the “taxes police” and are present in the main cities. They control mostly smuggling crimes, tax frauds and evasions, gambling.
Lodi’s castle and iconic tower are symbols of our city. Today, the whole castle complex is the provincial Headquarter (Questura) of the Italian State Police (Polizia di Stato), where I daily go to work.
The castle was built by Frederick Red Beard in the second half of the XII century, after founding the city of actual Lodi. Originally the castle was a solid defensive and strategic mansion, with all the four sides protected by reinforced walls. After many centuries, the weapons and machines of war evolved from slings to cannons, as did the structure of the castle itself. A complete reconstruction was done between 1355 and 1370 increasing the size of the structure and adding a square tower on every corner, plus deep underground prisons. In 1456 Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, added a rounded new tower (the Torrione) on the northern side of the castle. The present aspect of this tower is not the original and the medieval look is kind of fake as the upper part was built in style with battlements in 1906 to store the new municipal water tank.
Now the castle has only two sides remaining. One side was first demolished in the XVIII century during the Austrian Empire domination that transformed the castle into barracks for the soldiers. The moat had been filled up and porches built in the courtyard. Some parts of the moat are still visible today, hosting trees and grass. The last demolition process took part during the fascist regime to make room for a technical-college in 1941.
I hope you enjoyed my story. Please leave a comment below, especially if you have been to my Lodi.
Paolo – Lodi, Italy