10 secrets cops know that most people don't

It’s become abundantly clear that the press and the public have very little real understanding of police work.


It’s become abundantly clear that the press and the public have very little real understanding of police work. And something we’ve learned over the years is that during times of stress and tension, a good chuckle is extremely effective medicine. 

So, here are some things most people don’t know but cops do. Add your observations in the comments area below. 

1. Most cops understand why tickets are necessary, but don’t particularly like writing them. Well, unless they happen to stop “the guy who pays their wages” and then writing a ticket isn’t so bad.

2. The vast majority of cops have never shot anyone, but most cops can recite a detailed list of people who are/were deserving of being shot because they posed a deadly threat. This means that most cops have successfully defused a potentially deadly confrontation using only words and less-lethal weapons.

3. Most cops wonder if they have something better to do until the person asks in that whiny voice, “Don’t you have anything better to do?” It is then — and only then — the cop knows the answer to that question is, “No. This is good as it gets.”

4. Most cops know the driver they just stopped had more that “two beers” and can estimate with reasonable accuracy how many beers a driver did, in fact, have.

5. Most cops like donuts, but so does everybody. They are deliberately made to taste really, really good so people will want to eat them. Please pass me another donut. 

6. Most cops wonder why so many members of the community choose to pick up a mobile phone and record them while the officers are rolling in the dirt with an assailant rather than offering to help the officer.

7. Most cops don’t know the color of the people they stop before the traffic stop takes place. This is especially true when those people are driving cars with tinted windows at night.

8. Most cops know that if you fix that muffler / tail light / other mechanical issue for which they’ve stopped you, the cops will stop stopping you.

9. Most cops know it is impossible to stop a squad car fast enough when the drunk in the back seat says, “Stop! I think I’ve got to puke.”

10. Most cops know that the national media do not pursue the truth, they pursue a story. Their story and the truth are too often a little like fraternal twins. They are related, but cops can’t explain why they don’t look anything alike.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, providing police training content on a wide range of topics and trends affecting the law enforcement community. Doug is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column, and has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips. Doug hosts the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, and is the host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Contact Doug Wyllie

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