TV cops: Fact vs. myth
Adrenaline-fueled, high-drama television cop shows offer a distorted picture of reality
The other night we had some non-law enforcement friends over for dinner. As the children were watching a popular police drama on TV, the conversation turned to what was happening on that show.
Some questions were asked and, after 45 minutes, I decided to burst everyone’s bubble. It was time to explain fact from myth. Here are 23 facts that set the record straight about real cops vs. TV cops:
1. Crime is not solved in one hour with eight commercials.
2. Seldom have I thrown my badge across my Captain’s desk.
3. When seconds count, help is just a few minutes away.
4. I never responded to a call with smoking tires and blaring upbeat music.
5. Investigations take time.
6. Detectives have a caseload; they are not just assigned one case at a time.
7. I never saw a gun shot out of a suspect’s hand.
8. I never beat a confession out of a suspect.
9. Crime scene personnel do not interview and arrest suspects.
10. There is a lot of paperwork for every action taken and it does not wait until the morning.
11. Bartenders are not usually pulled across the bar.
12. I can’t remember the last time someone went rogue.
13. I only said once,” Book ‘em Danno, murder one.”
14. Jumping through a window is not a smart move.
15. Most of the time I drive without lights and sirens.
16. State attorneys are never walking around the station house.
17. I have never had to make the choice between cutting the blue wire or red wire.
18. I have never jumped onto a moving car, bus, train or ship.
19. No one just walks onto a crime scene.
20. I have never seen someone lick their finger and state, “That’s cocaine!”
21. All my weapons are department-approved.
22. If a SWAT team is called, they go in first.
23. Female detectives do not wear high heels.
By the time I was done explaining fact from myth, police work did not seem all that glamorous. But it sure is damn rewarding.