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24 things cops know, but most people don’t

#6. We know you had more than two beers


File photo/Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Not all of these are strictly what the police know that private citizens don’t, but they’re close.

Many are things I wish I could have said but would have been in big trouble for doing so.

  1. Even though you say differently, you probably don’t know your rights.
  2. If you leave your teenager in charge of the house while you go away for the weekend, he or she will probably do something you forbade them to do. If they decide to host a beer party, your house will be wrecked.
  3. You can’t talk your way out of a ticket. Lots of people talk themselves into one.
  4. Of course, it went off. What did you expect would happen when you pulled the trigger?
  5. The electronics in your radar or laser detector work no faster than those in my radar or LIDAR gun. By the time the little red light goes on, I already have your speed.
  6. We know you had more than two beers.
  7. If you grew up with guns in the house, you probably knew how to get to them, even though your parents thought they had them hidden or locked away. Don’t think your kids are any less ingenious.
  8. Arguing with me here will not go well for you. Arguments are for courtrooms, where you can make any statements and ask me any questions you want. Out here, I win all the arguments.
  9. We don’t care how many FOP, State Sheriffs Association or 11-99 Foundation stickers you buy for your car. If you deserve the ticket, you’re getting it.
  10. Yes, you do pay my salary. Today’s obligation can be calculated by the following formula: ((Amount you pay annually in state, county, or city taxes/365) x (Fraction of budget allocated for law enforcement))/(Number of employees in my organization)
  11. I’d be happy to give you a refund. Do you have change for a penny?
  12. Most able-bodied people really can do those tests while sober.
  13. You are not the first person to see a cop and say “Take him, he did it,” “I didn’t do it,” or to tell your kid, “If you don’t behave, that cop will put you in jail.” You probably aren’t even the first one to say that today. You have, however, caused me to mentally label you as a moron.
  14. The gun isn’t to protect you. It is to protect me.
  15. Your substance abuse problem is your business until it spills over into someone else’s life. Now, you are the problem.
  16. I don’t especially care what your race, religion, sexual preference, ethnicity, political affiliation or economic status is. I do have a bias against idiots.
  17. Can anyone here point out this person’s parents? He just asked me if I knew who his father was, and I don’t.
  18. Believe it or not, you don’t drive better with a few drinks in you.
  19. Do unto others, but do it first.
  20. We are not armed, uniformed scribes. If someone has threatened, insulted, or otherwise vexed you in some non-criminal way and you want it put on record, write it down, take it to a notary public, and sign it in their presence. Poof, you have a record. If we could make one change to improve society, better parenting would be toward the top of the list.
  21. There probably are teenagers who can handle alcohol responsibly outside the direct supervision of an adult. We never run into them, though.
  22. Please press firmly, you are making four copies.
  23. You are in ______________. We don’t care how they do it in ___________.
  24. Yes, you very well may see me in court. I get paid overtime to be there, win or lose.

This article, originally published 02/06/2013, has been updated.

Tim Dees is a writer, editor, trainer and former law enforcement officer. After 15 years as a police officer with the Reno Police Department and elsewhere in northern Nevada, Tim taught criminal justice as a full-time professor and instructor at colleges in Wisconsin, West Virginia, Georgia and Oregon. He was also a regional training coordinator for the Oregon Dept. of Public Safety Standards & Training, providing in-service training to 65 criminal justice agencies in central and eastern Oregon.