Police Officer

Police Officer


10 Years Experience

Around the Way, FL

Male, 40

Cheating death and fighting communism: that is how a fellow officer once described our job. It was meant to be funny, but as time went on it seemed all too true.

I spent more than ten years in law enforcement, all of it on the street in uniform patrol. I've been a patrol officer, instructor, sergeant and lieutenant.

Do not report crimes here. Nothing here should be considered legal advice. All opinions are my own.

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615 Questions


Last Answer on October 29, 2014

Best Rated

Do you and other cops actively avoid donut shops given all the stereotypes and jokes?

Asked by johnson22 over 11 years ago

Some officers avoid the places, while others don't mind. For a lot of areas, these are one of the few places open if you are working midnights. So if you need a cup of coffee, the local Dunkin Donuts might be your best bet. I'm not a huge fan of donuts or coffee, so I don't generally have cause to stop in.

When you approach a situation where a lot of people have guns drawn, how do you determine who the bad guys are? e.g. if you show up and one guy's pointing a gun at another, how do you know he's not a plainclothes cop?

Asked by barryschiller over 11 years ago

It is very situation dependent. What information has dispatch relayed to us? Is there someone that is displaying a badge or other identifiers? What are the circumstances? Do we have prior information about undercover officers working in an area? Misidentifying a good/bad guy is always a problem, and shooting an off-duty or plain clothes officer is a very real possibility. There is no simple answer to this question and the circumstances will offer responding officers "context clues" to the nature of the incident.

What's considered to be the best and worst assignments or "beats" as a cop? For example, I could swear I've heard that if a cop is in the doghouse at work, he might get assigned traffic duty or desk/paperwork stuff...

Asked by mark over 11 years ago

Depends on the officer and the jurisdiction what could be the "worst." For example, some cops work hard to make detective, while I would hate the job. The worst for them would be to have my job, and the reverse for me. In most jurisdictions there are some patrol districts that are busier than others. Getting assigned to one of those could be considered a punishment for some people.

What's the absolute bare MINIMUM I have to say to or do for a cop who stops me on the street? Do I have to show him my ID if he asks to see it? Do I have to speak to him at all? Can I just ignore him and walk away?

Asked by mister over 11 years ago

It depends on the circumstances. There are three tiers of police-citizen interactions: consensual, investigative detentions and arrest. Your question relates to the first two tiers. If it is a consensual encounter, you do not have to stop and talk with the officer. An example of a consensual encounter is an officer engaging in friendly conversation with a shop clerk, stopping out to talk to kids playing basketball in a park or talking to someone on a street corner. This conversation is another example of a consensual encounter. If it is an investigative detention, then you must stop and identify yourself to the officer. Depending on the circumstances, you may be required to give additional information (such as on a traffic stop, you would need to provide a driver's license, registration and proof of insurance in many states). An investigative detention is predicated by an officer's reasonable, articulable suspicion of illegal activity by the person being stopped. This is more than a hunch, but far less than probable cause (needed for a lawful arrest). Examples of reasonable suspicion that would warrant an investigative detention could include a subject hanging out at the rear of a closed business late at night or seeing someone matching the description of a person fleeing from a crime. The problem with just ignoring the officer and walking off is you don't know which of the encounters the officer is initiating. If you ignore and walk away from an officer who is attempting to stop you as part of an investigative detention, expect to get grabbed and possibly face obstruction charges. Your best bet is to stop long enough to talk with the officer and inquire if you are being detained. If the officer says no, then feel free to walk away. Of course, being friendly and introducing yourself to the officer is always an option as well. Cops are people too, and unless you are involved in criminal activity you might find that we can be quite engaging to talk to.

Does the murder of a minority gang member in the projects get as many resources allocated toward solving it as the murder of a white victim in a wealthy part of town?

Asked by billO over 11 years ago

Yes. It saddens me to see certain political "leaders" suggest otherwise for their own personal gain. It saddens me even more that their are people gullible enough to believe it.

What happens to the drugs that are seized during drug busts?

Asked by HGHG88 over 11 years ago

Drugs are held in evidence storage until the conclusion of the criminal trial. At that point, a judge will typically issue a court order for their destruction.

Do cops have monthly quotas for speeding tickets?

Asked by slowgrind over 11 years ago

Some agencies have used quotas as a method of ensuring officers maintain a high level of productivity. Frankly, quotas are unethical and are just a lazy supervisor's attempt to look good. If officers are not active, a supervisor should demonstrate leadership and inspire his or her people to provide superior service. Even if an agency employed a quota, I don't know that timing would have any bearing on enforcement. It is possible though. Maybe a topic for Mythbusters?