Arlington, VA

It’s like an initiation rite for new food trucks in Arlington.

For several weeks, the newbies are subjected to a barrage of visits from police officers, who themselves are responding to complaints from local businesses. Most of the complaints are made when the trucks are in Rosslyn or Crystal City. In almost every case, an officer responds, checks the truck’s license and leaves after verifying the truck is licensed and not illegally parked.

We started paying attention to this trend in October, when the BBQ Bandidos truck was the target of police visits (see photo, left). In December, we felt compelled to write about the Bada Bing truck’s travails as it was inspected at least eight times.

Now, the Big Cheese truck is becoming a frequent destination for license-checking officers.

On Friday, while the truck was parked on North Lynn Street in Rosslyn, police were called to check its license.

“Showed him my permit and he was on his way. I love Arlington,” truck owner Patrick Rathbone tweeted at the time. Today, while the truck was serving customers in Crystal City, another call for police.

“The police checked my permits then moved but the yellow jacket [Crystal City Shops] security guys are lurking,” Rathbone wrote.

According to Arlington Police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal, police must respond whenever they receive a complaint.

“Dispatchers are required to send officers out,” Nosal said. “We cannot pick and choose what calls we go to.”

Nosal also noted that the detective in charge of issuing vending licenses will often respond to specific complaints and will make random checks of food trucks he does not recognize.

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