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20 cop truths most people don’t know

A question posted on Quora asked, “What are some things that cops know, but most people don’t?” Police officers and those that work closely with them gave their answers to the topic, below. We’ve collected our favorites. Check them out and add your thoughts in the comments.

Stephanie Sterling
Cops make a pittance. They don’t do this for the money.

2. The standard to make criminal charges stick is incredibly high. Knowing someone is guilty and proving it are very different things.

3. Bad cops do exist. The “power” aspect is attractive to a certain group of people. The good cops try their hardest to weed them out, but they don’t always succeed.

4. Cops actually hate giving traffic tickets. In larger jurisdictions, traffic is something that you send rookies or the guys in the doghouse to do. In others, it is a duty imposed from above. It is like scrubbing your toilet. You don’t do it because you want to do it. You do it because it has to be done.

5. It isn’t fair that everyone likes firefighters more. Cops actually risk their lives more often (and probably save more kittens).

6. Most convictions stem from confessions. They will do everything in their power to convince you that you should confess. Cops will (and are allowed/encouraged by prosecutors to) lie. That is one of the rules of the game.

7. The number of drunk drivers on the road would terrify you. Police have the resources to catch barely a fraction.

8. If you make it across state/county lines, your chances of getting off scot-free are exponentially higher- not because they can’t follow you, but because it sets off a “whose job is it” argument among prosecutors.

9. Except for violent or extreme crimes, most police departments don’t have the budget to do forensics on a scene.

Tim Fry
10. Smoking cigarettes, using mouthwash, breath mints, or sucking on pennies neither hide the odor of alcohol on your breath, nor do they affect the breathalyzer.

Roger Curtiss
11. I was never aware of any police agency that required its officers to make a certain number of arrests each month. However, the same cannot be said of traffic citations- many agencies have unwritten “minimum performance standards” to which officers are evaluated. This is basically a euphemism for quotas- but that is considered a forbidden word.

Richard Cavataio
12. Cops aren’t mechanics, paramedics, firemen, judges, veterinarians or animal trainers.

13. It’s legal to call a cop names. But it’s also legal for a cop to decide whether you deserve a ticket. He won’t give you a ticket for treating him rudely, but he might cut you loose if you’re nice. A simple compliment might go a long way if you are sincere. Keep it light. They see right through a snow job.

Rick Bruno
14. We know that your “little angel” isn’t one.

15. We know you pay our salaries. You have to – it’s not out of your generosity.

16. If I give you a break, it’s because I chose to. Not because your mother’s cousin is a cop.

17. We carry the job home with us. We remember the tragedies, traffic fatalities, hurt or dead babies, ruined lives, battered wives, bullied kids, suicides, and the insults. We remember.

18. We also remember the rare occasions someone says thanks.

19. We don’t do this job for the power or prestige you might think it brings. We do it because we are tired of seeing good people suffer, and we want to help and protect them from the wolves.

20. You might be tougher than me, but I will win in the long run. Believe it.

“The Question” section brings together user-generated articles from the Police1 Facebook page based on questions we pose to our followers, as well as some of the best content we find on Quora, a question-and-answer website created, edited and organized by its community of users who are often experts in their field. The site aggregates questions and answers for a range of topics, including public safety.

The views and opinions expressed in the questions and answers posted directly from Quora do not necessarily reflect those of P1.