If you flip on the television at any point of the day, you are likely to find at least two police procedural shows or cop films in your TV guide. Cop shows are frequently the most watched hours of the week. Whether its the heart-wrenching drama on Law and Order: SVU, the crime lab chaos of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, or the thrill of watching Al Pacino track a bank robber played by Robert DeNiro in Heat, we simply cannot get enough. However, the lives of real-life cops may not be how we picture them on these shows. Cops are opening up on their secrets…
Inked Up Ladies
Female cops have more tattoos than male cops. 52% of female police officers have at least one tattoo on their bodies. In comparison, only 47% of men have some ink – that’s a pretty significant difference if you think about it.
Of course, having a tattoo does not affect how effectively you can protect the people, and women with tattoos who become cops are probably pretty tough cookies.
Dating Is A Doozy
When you work in law enforcement, there is a good chance that your social and romantic lives will suffer. For female cops, it is common that their partner will put them in a position as the primary protector.
Just because they work as policewomen, does not mean that they don’t want to feel protected. On the contrary, some policemen find that women are intimidated by their jobs which makes it hard to find a date.
NYC Hot Cop – Samantha Sepulveda
One New York area cop found a different occupation to fill her free time. Samantha Sepulveda, a former division one college lacrosse player, began moonlighting as a model a few years into her career.
In 2017, the New York Post published a profile on Sepulveda’s surprising side job. Although the citizens which she served had no idea she was a model, her fellow officers knew and supported her other career. She has since been featured in Maxim magazine.
Ticket Quotas Are A Thing Of The Past
It is an old myth that cops give more tickets at the end of the month to meet quotas.
No matter how many people repeat this myth, understand that they are a thing of the past. The myth stemmed from the fact that many departments rely heavily on ticket revenue.
Even if they need the money, ticket quotas are prohibited. Departments must look elsewhere for extra funding for their department.
Earning The Right To Live
For the most part, cops will give anyone a ticket, including other cops.
However, they are likely to brush aside small offenses from one group of people – the elderly. Plenty of cops have admitted to letting senior citizens off the hook for traffic violations.
They believe that they have earned the right to live their lives without interference for minor things. That being said, regardless of age, major crimes are still taken seriously.
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
Many civilians forget that cops are people too, which means they like socializing. Many cops report that their friends stopped calling them once they joined the force.
Perhaps they have a fear of being arrested or do not want to introduce other people to their cop friend. People do not feel comfortable partying around cops because they do not want to have “narc” vibes at their gathering. All they truly want is to have a good time too.
The Truth About Radar Detectors
If you are afraid of getting a speeding ticket, you might purchase a radar detector. The truth is that they work perfectly well with one caveat.
A radar detector will let you know if a radar gun is nearby, however, the gun has likely already picked up your speed by the time you are notified. If anything it acts more as a warning to check your speed and notify you that you might get a ticket.
Extra Moolah On The Side
While being a cop comes with great responsibility and even greater honor, it, unfortunately, does not come with a high salary. Many cops are forced to find a second job to pay the bills.
Working in private security is the most common side gig. Depending on the job, private security firms can pay much higher than local police departments and are always looking for current or ex-police officers to fill their vacancies.
Have Yourself A Merry (And Ticket-Free) Christmas
The holiday season is one of the happiest times of the year. The last thing that you want is a speeding ticket ruining those good vibes. Fortunately, cops are pretty giving during the holiday seasons.
Many cops are more lenient on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day than they would be the rest of the year. They understand the craziness of gathering with friends and family and do not want to spoil your Christmas cheer.
Ladies In Blue
Law enforcement is not surprisingly a male-dominated field, but that does not mean women do not make up a significant chunk of police departments. The National Center for Women and Policing reported that women are about 15% of state municipal and county police officers.
State police departments have the smallest percentage of female officers, sometimes less than 6% of their force. On the contrary, big cities and counties can have over 20% of their force made up by women.
Getting A Sneak Peak
One of the most fun stops a cop can make is a luxury car. Like anyone that sees a fancy car on the street, cops are curious about who’s driving the vehicle and what it looks like inside.
If you drive by in a Lamborghini going a hair over the speed limit, you might get pulled over so a cop can get an impromptu tour of your vehicle. Plus, if you are speeding, the cop can say they bested a speedster.
The Biggest Issue Caused By The Uniform
Men on the force have it easier than women in a few ways. The most basic advantage they have is when they want to take a bathroom break. For men, all they need to do is find a tree on the side of the highway.
Women have to toggle through about 25 lb. of gear before they can relieve themselves. In many cases, their gear and uniform can weigh over 1/5 of a policewoman’s body weight.
Who’s The Boss?
If asked who the most important person in a police station is, who would you say? The chief? Homicide detectives? According to police officers, the dispatcher is the most important person in the building.
They have to deal will all sorts of crazy reports coming in over the phone, whether credible or not. Then, they have to relay what little information they have to the officers to investigate the report. You don’t want to piss off a dispatcher since they decide your next case.
Dealing With Death
It might be exciting to put on the uniform and drive away in your squad car, but police officers deal with some of the worst parts of life. If you are thinking of becoming a police officer but do not handle death well, you might want to consider another career.
Cops see an alarming amount of death each week and could get called to multiple cases in a week. Death is a part of life, one that requires an investigation and documentation.
The Paper Keeps Coming (But Not The Good Kind)
Cop life, unfortunately, is not all about kicking in doors and bringing down the mob, contrary to popular belief. In reality, paperwork rules the workday.
Cop dramas have created an expectation for this wild life, living like Crockett and Tubbs in Miami Vice, when in fact 70% of the day is spent at your desk filing paperwork and writing reports. Only about 5% of the job involves those crazy, adrenaline-boosting calls to action.
You’ve Been Warned
Did you ever wonder what makes an officer choose between giving out a ticket and issuing a warning? The answer is more simple than you would think. It is entirely subjective.
Policemen and policewomen use their discretion when giving out tickets. Traffic laws are in place to encourage safe operation of a vehicle, not to punish drivers. If an officer feels that your action is dangerous to those around you, then they will stop you. For a first offense, you will likely get a warning.
Flipping The Bird
Plenty of people have issues with the police for various reasons. Some hate cops so much that they might feel it is necessary to give the finger to a cop. The officer might take offense to the gesture, but is not allowed to use their authority against you.
That is, they cannot give you a ticket for telling them to ‘F off.’ However, it might not be the best choice if you are trying to get out of a speeding ticket.
Police officers must learn to deal with all sorts of people including many that the rest of society has ostracized.
In a Reddit Ask Me Anything, a deputy sheriff described how that affected his psyche, “Eighty percent of the people we deal with are trash. And I can’t put that any better. We deal with the people that other people in the community don’t even know exist there. Because of this sometimes our mindset does get swayed into thinking that everyone is bad.”
I Love You, Man
Cops will likely be called to settle multiple disputes between drunk people or arrest someone for being drunk and disorderly. The laws vary from state to state, but not all drunk encounters are equal.
Cops love coming across the ‘happy drunk.’ The ‘happy drunk’ only wants to have a good time with anyone that’s around, including the police. They will likely pass off compliments left and right and offer a hug or two which can be nice after a harsh shift.
The Fast And The Furious
Val Kilmer, The Rock, Paul Walker are not the only ones that like to get in road races. Cops on the graveyard shift love to take their cruisers out for a speedy spin.
No, Val Kilmer would not get caught driving a Ford Crown Victoria, but real cops get bored enough to test how quickly they can go zero to sixty. How can you blame them? We would want some sort of thrill if we are working at 3 A.M. too.
“Is The Owner Of The House Here?”
Any high school kid can attest to the disappointment when the police show up to break up a party. While, yes, there might be underage drinking or possible trespassing, cops generally do not like breaking up house parties.
They actually care less about the party itself and more about responsible drinking and having a designated driver. Remember kids, they were young once too and understand that it is all a part of growing up.
A Woman’s Touch
Most women on the police force have a physical disadvantage in comparison to their male co-workers. That does not mean that just because they cannot chase and tackle a perp as well that they are worse cops.
In fact, they often make great cops due to their verbal communication skills. Female cops are known to be better at deescalating situations calmly through conversation. This limits the need for physical confrontation and the paperwork that follows.
Brothers In The Line Of Duty
It is a long-standing rumor that police departments have a beef with fire departments. While they may fight with each other on occasion, their relationship is more similar to a sibling rivalry than pure hatred.
During periods of calm, they will certainly jab at each other and play practical jokes. However, in times of emergency, one cop said, “When times are tough, and lives are on the line, there is no one I’d rather trust my life with than a trained firefighter.”
Big Brother Is Watching
As alarming as it is, police have more access to your phone than you think. They use devices called International Mobile Subscriber Identity Catchers or Stingrays which can force cell phones in an area to connect to it.
Once connected, the stingray can give the police access to your call logs or location. Incredibly, police can use a stingray without a warrant, leaving your cell phone information exposed. 72 agencies in 24 states use stingrays as of 2017.
You’ve Gotta Fight For Your Right(s)
Many people believe that a police officer’s request is also an order. You have more rights that you think you do. You have every right to ask for clarification on why they want you to do something.
Many cops might not like being filmed, but you have every right to do so. You have basic rights like the right to remain silent, to obtain an attorney, and understand the charges against you. You also can refuse a search without a warrant.
They Don’t Want To Ticket You (For The Most Part)
Even though many drivers believe that cops get some sort of pleasure out of giving tickets for minor traffic violations, the truth is that the act of writing tickets is usually their least favorite part of the job.
While police officers understand the importance of keeping the roads safe, they would much rather catch bad guys instead of causing inconveniences for an average Joe on their way to work. However, if they happen to pull over “the guy who pays their wages,” it’s a different story.
As Good As It Gets
During most routine traffic stops, cops will often wonder to themselves if they have something better to do.
They ask themselves this question until they hear the civilian being pulled over ask the same question in that annoying and condescending voice that they are all too familiar with: “Don’t you have anything better to do?” At this very moment they have the answer to this question – “No, this is just about as good as it gets.”
There’s Some Truth To The Stereotype
Yes, the stereotype is true: cops love donuts. But then again, everyone loves donuts – they are absolutely delicious and the perfect sweet treat to go with a hot cup of coffee.
While we’re on the topic, being a cop often means working late nights and early mornings, so if there’s anything in this world that cops consume a lot of, it’s definitely coffee. Perhaps there are other factors at play regarding the whole “cops love donuts” stereotype.
Know Your Rights
If you ever find yourself under arrest, the best advice a cop could give you is to use your right to remain silent. Contrary to popular belief, it won’t make you seem more suspicious.
It will only show that you know your rights. As one police officer advised during an interview with Business Insider, “Don’t say anything. A good cop (and by this I mean a bad cop that’s good at turning things around) can make the most innocent thing you say sound horrible.”
They’ve Got Places To Be, So Speed Up
Just about everyone slows down when they see a police car drive up behind them. Believe or not, most cops can’t stand this phenomenon. “I… hate when people slow down when I get behind them.
Usually, I have somewhere I have to be, yet it’s not major enough for me to have my lights on. Therefore I’m stuck behind someone doing 10 under the speed limit and it takes 20 minutes to get to my call,” said one officer.
An easy way to raise cops’ suspicions of your vehicle is to drive with tinted windows. In fact, some states even made them illegal. Many cops have admitted that they automatically feel suspicious when they can’t clearly see the driver inside the car they pulled over.
When they have no idea what’s going on in the driver’s seat, they naturally feel on edge and are more likely to issue tickets. Our advice: if you’ve got nothing to hide, lose the tinted windows.
They Turn The Siren On For Fun
Every now and then, if a cop finds himself in the middle of an extra long and tedious shift, they’ll turn the siren on for fun. At the end of the day, cops are people too. For this reason, they like to have fun and blow off some steam.
What better time to do so than during the graveyard shift? If you’re in the area and hear a mysterious siren, don’t stress, they aren’t trying to scare you. They just think the siren is cool.
You get pulled over by a cop and try to explain how you had to speed to get around the 18 wheeler in front of you. Unfortunately for you, the cop does not care. They have heard every excuse in the book since they started their shift.
That does not take the previous day’s excuses into consideration too. Making up a drawn-out excuse will only annoy the officer. The more absurd your excuse is, the more likely that you will get a ticket.
Beware of Badge Bunnies
Although many cops report struggling in their dating lives, a phenomenon called ‘badge bunnies’ do exist. These ‘badge bunnies’ hit on police officers due to a fetish for men or women in law enforcement.
Male cops are more likely to be hit on by ‘badge bunnies’ as female cops are seen as intimidating. Even with these women tossing themselves at them, most of the policemen don’t give in to the pressure until they are off duty.
Can I Kick It?
In nearly every cop drama, you are likely to see a cop burst through someone’s door with a big boot. The only problem is that the movies completely mess up the proper technique for kicking down a door.
In the movies, a cop will stand in front of the door before plowing it down. Standing in front of the door could leave you exposed once the door is open. Cops actually stand to the side with only their leg extended.
The Force Fallacy
When reports come out about cops, most of the time they publicize an excessive use of force. That same abuse of power is frequently shown in media too. However, using force is actually quite a nuisance to officers when it is not entirely necessary.
It requires an immense amount of paperwork and an internal investigation. By solving issues verbally instead of physically, police officers can save themselves hours of unnecessary work. Responding to force is the only appropriate time to use force.
The TV Series That Got It Right
For three seasons, Dennis Farina played Detective Joe Fontana on Law and Order. Before he got connected to creator Dick Wolf or Michael Mann who gave him his first Hollywood job, Farina was a Chicago cop in the burglary division for 18 years.
According to Farina, a veteran of cop roles in both film and TV, one show takes the cake as most accurately depicting police life. He said sitcom Barney Miller did the best job showing all the paperwork.