12 Signs You’re a Cop

Police officers are dressed, trained, and educated to act and react to circumstances in a specific manner like few other professions. This molding is modeled, reinforced and then forged in steel. By the time police officers have been on the job for a few years, their walk, talk, and stalk are firmly ingrained in their professional DNA.

For better or worse, the personality evolution is complete. Once this has occurred, our crime fighters need to determine the best course of action to intersect their personal and professional disposition—a challenging task!

Nevertheless, once you’ve worked in law enforcement, you’ve taken on inherent traits that are performed subconsciously. These characteristics make undercover work challenging. Like putting your foot in a door when someone tries to close you out. Cops do it by instinct, but you can’t exactly act the same way during undercover operations.

Here are 12 signs that tell others you’re a cop:

  • Meeting someone for a quick chat means pulling your vehicles side and side and speaking through the drivers side window.
  • While performing a “welfare check,” you instinctively know when the person is dead versus on vacation.
  • You’d prefer responding to an armed robbery than speaking at a Neighborhood Watch meeting.
  • Facts are relevant; feelings have limited usefulness.
  • Cops can discuss meal plans while processing a homicide scene.
  • When seated at a restaurant you scope out a table that allows you to see the front door and cash register simultaneously.
  • You categorize people, “Teacher,” “Mechanic,” “Parolee,” without thinking. And you offer your expertise in behavior analysis unsolicited.
  • Writing notes on your hand is a completely normal … and you actually know the width of the street.
  • If the air in your home has been disturbed, you’ll “clear” the house like you were on duty.
  • Police officers are quick to criticize someone for their stupidity, yet the first to lend a helping hand from the dilemma.
  • The sound of clicking handcuffs gets your adrenaline pumping in a purely professional way.
  • Holding a flashlight under your armpit is second nature.

Finally, to make it a Baker’s Dozen, when someone asks your opinion regarding the alarm system in your home, “My guns and dogs,” are somehow integrated into the reply.

This list can get lengthy. What are some traits that you can add?


– Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today