How To Tell A Cop’s Assignment Within The Department

How To Tell A Cop's Assignment Within The Department

There are many jobs within police departments and sheriff’s offices, and each of those duties require special skills. Some of the assignments even require a special “look.” However, many of the officers assigned to these special details have their own expectations of how they should carry themselves and which type of appearance is appropriate for the mission.

Over the years, police officers have developed a set of unwritten guidelines for working in the individual divisions. And, with one glance cops can usually tell another officer’s assignment. How? Well, certain little details give them away.

So, here’s a handy little guide to help you, the civilian, see how cops spot other cops. Especially one who’s new to a division.


-Immediately grow facial hair, tell everybody you were ordered to.

-Start watching every episode of Monster Garage.

-Buy a biker wallet with a big chain.

-Make every case involve overtime $$$.

-Buy bunches of boats, RV’s, and motorcycles with that overtime.

-Learn to play  golf drunk.


-Wear team T-shirts, Oakley sunglasses and boots everyday.

-Try to fit the word breach in to every conversation.

-Have a mirror handy to check hair, if you have hair.

-Never say hello to anyone who is not an operator, just practice your SWAT head nod.

-Subscribe to Soldier of Fortune and Muscle and Fitness.

-Learn to play golf wearing a gun.


– Shave head, and grow goatee (unless you want to be a management weenie, then make sure you are clean shaven, with short almost military style haircut).

– Wear 5.11 pants, and polo with agency logo (unless you want to be a management weenie, then make sure you always have a shirt and pants to which a jacket and tie can be quickly added for when the boss might be around).

– Arrive at work at 8AM, spend one hour answering useless emails, and 30 minutes checking your retirement investments. Then go with another agent to Starbucks “to discuss a new case.”

– After participating in your first warrant service (as outside cover) make plans to join the agency SRT, SWAT, etc, to “properly utilize your superior tactical skills.”

– After doing your first buy bust, immediately begin asking the boss about “long term undercover” jobs.

– Refuse to play golf with “the locals.”

Community Service Units

-Hate SWAT.

-Work to make everybody love you.

-Paint your office in pastel colors.

-Think Feng Shui.

-Subscribe to Psychology Today.

-Learn to play miniature golf.

Traffic units

-Write tickets to EVERYBODY.

-Spend every weekend cleaning your bike and polishing boots.

-Annoy everyone  on the radio calling out your stops.

-Talk about nothing but how many tickets you wrote in one day.

-Ride by a building with big windows to see your reflection.

-Golf is lame, motor rodeos are cool.

K-9 Units

-Become sadistic.

-Show pictures of your latest dog bite.

-Brag about your largest drug find.

-Smell like a dog.

-Workout 3 times a day.

-Show off your bruises.

Administrative Units

-Three-hour lunches everyday, tell everybody it’s a “meeting.”

-Upgrade  department cell phone every month.

-Tell everybody you are published in a national law enforcement magazine.

-Update your revenge list on a weekly basis.

-Golf Rules!  Play lots of golf.

Patrol Units

-Has nerves of steel.

-In a terminal state of nausea from department politics.

-Inability to keep mouth shut.

-Has defining tastes in alcohol.

-Is respected by peers.

-Beats the crap out of his caddy on any bogeyed shot.

FTO (Field Training Officer)

-Automatically grasps the door handle until knuckles turn white when car is put in gear.

-Considers a multiple-victim homicide in progress a “good training opportunity” and asks to take primary.

-Considers less than three hours of OT to be a quiet day.


-Come in at 0800.

-“Breakfast” from 0815 to 1030.

-Work from 1030 to Noon.

-Noon to 1400 Work out and Lunch.

-1400-1700 Sit in CID and talk about how many girlfriends you have and how the wife doesn’t know.  Plan your next RV, fishing, motorcycle trip.

Patrol Sergeant

-Remembers very well “how we used to do do it.”

-Always willing to tell his officers the above.

-Tries to fit the word “liability” in to every sentence.

-Talks about “what he’s hearing from upstairs.”


-Unable to grow facial hair.

-Watches every episode of Cops.

-Worships the ground the SWAT guys walk on.

-Arrives for work three hours early.

-Thinks the sergeant is thrilled to see him.

-Won’t drink on the golf course because it violates the open container ordinance.

New Corrections Officers

– Show up for work 15 minutes early.

– Buy only the best ink pens (Pilot G-2).

– Wear T-Shirts of your “dream department” under your uniform.

– Wear a full duty belt of gear even though you have to remove everything when you arrive at the facility.

– Become friends with every local police officer.

Court  Security

-Say you don’t want to work patrol anyway, but monitor dispatch channel while in courtroom.

-Have jail and courthouse cafeteria menus memorized.

-Have seriously thought of entering law school after sitting through three jury trials.

-Consider the Public Defenders’ Christmas party the high point of the year.

Defensive Tactics Instructors

-Starts stretching before making arrest.

-Can spend hours debating the advantages of ASP vs. straight stick.

-Has spent more than $50 on a wood baton.

-Giggles when a suspect starts to resist.

Firearms Instructor

– Responds to every question/statement with the word, ‘huh?’

– Has a % blood level higher than the current Chief’s approval rating.

– Operates under the assumption that the more beer you drink, the more of that alcohol leaves your system.

– Thinks a new tactical handgun is a great Christmas gift for the wife/girlfriend.

– Has an image of a custom 1911-A1 for a screen-saver.

– Wears the latest high-tech electronic hearing protectors during normal conversation.

*Thanks to Jerry Cooper for providing the information for today’s blog.

5 replies
  1. GunDiva
    GunDiva says:

    So what you’re saying is that in order to get my new AR-15, I should have married a firearms instructor instead of a chef?

    Thanks for the information about two years too late!

  2. PatMarin
    PatMarin says:

    Okay, so now that I have spit my tea all over my laptop…Thanks I really needed a good laugh today.

    I just love the K-9 Unit!

Comments are closed.