10 Things That Make Cops Cringe

Working in law enforcement or any criminal justice job is without question one of the most rewarding careers out there. But there are times when being a cop isn't all it's cracked up to be, and there's a lot of things about it that police officers really hate.

If you've ever been curious about what gets under a police officer's skin, consider these 10 things from scaring kids to jokes that should long since have been retired.  

Kids Not Wearing Seat Belts

Unfortunately, it won't take long for a new police officer to experience that first tragic car crash. These scenes are difficult enough when adults are involved, but it breaks a cop's heart when children are needlessly hurt. 

Data has shown time and again that seat belts save lives. You can bet that officer is going to have a chat with the driver of a car full of kids without seat belts or car seats. 

Domestic Violence and Abuse Cases

Most police officers choose this career because they want to help people and protect those who can't help themselves. That's why it's often so difficult for them to respond to domestic violence calls.

Most recruits are taught in the police academy that these calls are among the most dangerous. A high level of emotion and many unknown factors are involved.

The stress of the call is bad enough. Add to that a victim who might be reluctant to press charges or who is less than cooperative out of fear of retaliation from the abuser, and it's easy to see why this would be a frustrating situation for someone who is sworn to serve and protect.

Other Cops Giving the Profession a Bad Name

We all know that there are people working as police officers who shouldn't be. Despite a lengthy hiring process and rigorous background checks—including psychological exams and polygraphs—some candidates unfortunately fall through the cracks. Regrettably, most of these individuals eventually expose themselves as the crooks they are, and often in a big way.

A community rightly holds its police to a high ethical standard, and bad cops make headlines when they do bad things. They make the good, honest, hard-working police officers look bad, too.

In the eyes of the public, when one officer does something bad, all officers have done something bad. Corrupt, crooked, ignorant, and rude cops all give the rest of the profession a bad name and make other officers cringe.

Motorists Who Don't Move Over

The law requires that you move over into the far lane and/or slow down when you're approaching or passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road.

Believe it or not, cops are far more afraid of traffic whizzing by at 70 miles per hour than they are of a bad guy who wants to hurt them. They know how to handle the bad guy, but there's not much they can do to stop an inattentive, impaired, or otherwise bad driver who's cruising full-throttle down the interstate.

A car can take out a patrol car on a traffic stop or a crash scene if it drifts a little too far to the left or the right—or, worse yet, it can take out an officer on the side of the road. Remembering to move over forces drivers to pay better attention, and it prevents police officers from getting hurt or killed.

Motorists Who Hit Their Brakes When Lights and Sirens Approach

It's probably a safe bet that you hit your brakes hard when you glance in your rearview mirror and see a police officer fast approaching behind you with lights on and sirens blaring. The problem is that a police car with lights and sirens is probably trying to get somewhere as quickly as possible.

You create one more obstacle and one more thing the officer has to respond to when you slam on your brakes. Fortunately, officers are trained for emergency driving and they're able to react appropriately most of the time. But there are times when they have to get to people quickly. It can sometimes be a matter of life or death. It can do more harm than good when motorists hit their brakes in front of them. 

Better to try to carefully move into an adjacent lane or maintain your speed and just let them pass.

People Who Insist That Police Myths Are Reality

Police offers have heard it all: An arrest isn't valid if the cops haven't read you your rights, you have to say that you're a cop if you're asked, and speed traps are entrapment. Not so. 

Every once in a while, police will come across the know-it-all would-be lawyer who, in fact, knows nothing about policing, tactics, practices, or the law. Instead, he buys into the myths about policing that permeate the movies, television, and popular culture. He insists on protocol that doesn't exist, making the officer's job that much harder.

People Who Say "I Pay Your Salary"

Every once in a while, an officer will encounter that gem of a citizen who insists that the law doesn't apply to them because they're essentially footing the bill by paying their taxes. 

It could be a traffic stop, or it could be a road block. It could even be a crime scene. Inevitably, someone won't like an answer they get from an officer and utter those famous words: "Hey, I pay your salary!"

First off, yes, officers are funded by taxpayer dollars. They're paid a salary is because the public has entrusted them with the authority to protect them and to enforce the laws. On top of that, officers are taxpayers, too, so they technically pay their own salaries. 

Polite officers will smile and take it, but rest assured that they're doing all they can to hold their tongues and avoid saying what they're really thinking.

Telling Kids a Cop Will Arrest Them If They Don't Behave

One of the most uncomfortable and disappointing moments in an officer's career is when a parent says something like, "Tell my son here that you're going to arrest him if he doesn't listen to his parents."

Cops want children to trust them so they'll come to them when they need help. Telling children that they'll get arrested for not listening to their parents builds fear and distrust instead. 

The Old "It Wasn't Me" Joke

Remember that time when a police officer walked into a restaurant, convenience store, or your place of business and you threw your hands up and jovially exclaimed: "It wasn't me!" It wasn't the first time the officer heard that joke. It wasn't even the 40th time.

It's not funny, and it gets less funny every...single...time a cop hears it.


This one might seem cheesy and cliché, but police officers hate it when a guilty person goes free. In fact, the very idea that a guilty person would even fight charges is bothersome. 

Obviously, people have a right and indeed an obligation to clear their names if they're innocent. But they should admit their guilt and accept their fate if they're guilty.

Police exist to aid in the service of justice. They want to know that what they do all day everyday makes a difference. It's hard not to take it personally when things go awry and a criminal walks. 

There's No Such Thing As a Perfect Job

Some of these issues are obviously more painful than others, and no job is without its grind-your-teeth moments. The balance between the good and the bad involved with serving as a police officer can't be overlooked. In fact, making a difference in society and helping others can tilt the scale to the good side.