The 6 dumbest things you can say to a police officer
First on the list: "You need to find some real criminals!"
For cops, it is our job to hand out advice – often for free.
On every call we respond to that requires some sort of resolution, you can bet the farm we’re going to give you some guidance as well. Despite our therapeutic touches, there are stellar moments when the roles are reversed and we get some direction from citizens. Here are some of the dumbest things cops hear:
1. You need to find some real criminals.
We often hear this type of counsel on traffic stops. Honestly, who wouldn’t rather be pursuing a serial killer than giving out a traffic citation? I mean, HALLELUJAH! Why don’t you go suggest that to the chief for me? In the meantime, until you get policy and procedures changed, I will have to continue to stop you when you fly down Main Street at the speed of light.
2. Put your seat belt on, cop.
There are those out wandering our streets who are the Blue Healers. They regurgitate the laws and codes, ending with goodwill statements like, “It’s the law. I want you to survive.” Thank you, Mr. Concerned Citizen. Safety first!
While I normally wear my seat belt in my personal vehicle at all times, there are several situations when police do not. It just so happens this one time, fella, I am in the middle of transporting a combative subject and I don’t want to get strangled. Nor do I want to have my gun caught up in the belt when trying to respond to the nonsense in the back seat.
3. You need to get a real job.
Last I checked, cop work was a “real” job just like anything else, only more so with “real” fun and dynamic situations. Seriously, if we didn’t love what we do, we wouldn’t still be here in this uniform. We want to make a difference somewhere to someone. Every day is unique and challenging, and people never cease to amaze us.
4. He needs to go to jail, officer. Now.
These are the Perpetrator Patrol experts who will point out a suspect as you roll up on a scene and tell you, “He needs to go to jail.” Because we are not hasty enough in apprehending the alleged criminal, there is often scolding to follow our lackadaisical response.
Picture a Banty rooster following you around the yard squawking as you go. It is exactly like that. Nevermind determining if there even was criminal activity afoot committed by said person. There really is no reason to do any investigative work when the citizens do it all for us. Plus, if we listened to Grandma Myrtle and her pointing more often, our jobs would be a lot easier.
5. Officer, you should just pretend you didn’t see me. Stop harassing me. Call out a UTL (Unable To Locate).
Don’t you love the off-road vagabonds? Every city has at least one. If you are lucky, you have several. They know all the cops and the lingo. If open containers are illegal in your city, these types might resort to getting intoxicated on Listerine. Most often they find a way to cross paths with you, whether by passing out in a public place or creating a ruckus. Once you get there, they try to tell you what to do, albeit, in a nice way with slurred speech. Believe me, when they have the poopy pants, we would like nothing better than to air an “Unable To Locate” to our dispatch center.
6. You need to just let me go.
Why is it everyone in the world thinks the game of Monopoly is based upon reality and we give out random “Get Out Of Jail Free” cards? The only Park Place we recognize is the clink. Sure, we have discretion, but when you are really naughty, there are consequences. You don’t get a free pass. You get a complimentary bed and breakfast retreat on the hill. Well, the county might charge you for it later, but nothing is required upfront.
Unsolicited counsel is something law enforcement will have to tolerate during the lifetime of any police career. We might as well embrace it and love it for the entertainment value it holds.
This article, originally published 05/26/2016, has been updated.