The Language Of Police: Cop Slang

The language of police

Everyone has their own pet names for various items, and many people have used cute little nicknames for their favorite or not so favorite people. But when it comes to cops and their slang, well, it’s a language all it’s own. For example…

A little while – response offered to bad guys when they ask what they’re going to jail for… “A little while.”

Aluminum Shampoo – using a metal flashlight to deliver a polite “love tap” to a combative suspect’s head

Angry Betty – usually a high and crazy, mad, arms-flailing female crackhead

Back To The Barn – heading back to the police station

Badge Bunny – woman obsessed with cops (I mean really obsessed…well, you get the idea). Cop groupies.

Basket Weave – design that’s stamped into a leather gun belt

Break Leather – drawing a firearm/weapon from its holster

California Roll – when a driver almost, but not quite, stops at a stop sign (they slowly roll past the sign through the intersection, never coming to a complete stop)

Canoe Maker – a medical examiner (during autopsy, an M.E. “scoops” out the insides leaving behind a human “canoe”)

Code Brown – got to get to the bathroom, and fast!

Connect The Dots – using a metal flashlight to deliver a polite “love tap” to a combative suspect’s head

Cue Ball – a bad guy, especially a gang member, with a shaved head

Deuce – driving under the influence

Doing The Funky Chicken – a “Tasered”suspect’s flailing and erratic movements

Driving Miss Daisy – having an older, supervisory officer riding along on patrol

Duracell Shampoo – using a metal flashlight to deliver a polite “love tap” to a combative suspect’s head

Fish Eye – a person is said to “fish eye” when he knows an officer is watching him, so he pretends not to notice. However, he’s quite obviously watching the officer out of the extreme corner of his eye while trying to keep his head aimed straight ahead

Flashlight Therapy – using a metal flashlight to deliver a polite “love tap” to a combative suspect’s head

Foot Bail – to run from the police

Frequent Flyer – the person you arrest over and over and over again. Think Otis Campbell of Mayberry.

Grunt – patrol officer

Gump – Cross-dressing male prostitute.  “Gender Unknown Male Prostitute”

Hang Paper – issue a traffic citation (ticket)

Happy Feet – suspect is a runner, or is about to flee

John Wayne – excessive use of force (He went all “John Wayne” on that guy.”)

Lead Poisoning – multiple gunshot wounds (Look at all the bullet holes. He must’ve died of lead poisoning)

Light ‘Em Up – initiate a traffic stop by turning on blue lights. Also used as an unofficial command to begin firing at a suspect(s)

Maglite Shampoo – using a metal flashlight to deliver a polite “love tap” to a combative suspect’s head

Minnow Mounties – Fish and Game officers. Also known as Moose Marshals

Mutt – criminal. AKA – suspect, slimebag, scrote, and a**hole

On The Beach – suspended from duty

One-Oh-One X-ray – a male dressed as a female

Opossum Cop (‘Possum Cop) – Texas game warden

Organ Donor – a person riding a motorcycle without wearing a helmet

Out Of The Bag – an officer out of uniform, or a plainclothes officer/detective

Overheads – lights on top of a police car. AKA – lightbar

Paper Hanger – person who writes fraudulent checks

Pickle Park – highway rest area frequented by men attempting to “hook up” with other men

Polyester Pig Pile – When several officers “pile on” an extremely combative suspect to effect an arrest

Pumpkin Patch – Holding cell (bull pen) housing new prisoners dressed in orange jumpsuits

Q-Tips – elderly, white-haired folks traveling the highway, usually to and from Florida. From a distance they have the appearance of Q-tips lined up in a box

Rabbit – run from the police

Scooby Snack – a suspect who’s bitten by a police k-9

Screen Test – slamming on the brakes so the unruly, spitting suspect in the rear seat slides forward, hitting their head/face on the screen/divider between the front and rear compartments

Sergeant In The Trunk – GPS tracking system on patrol cars (an officer’s whereabouts is known at all times)

Swivel Head – the head-turning reaction exhibited by bad guys when they see a passing police car

Three-Striper – sergeant

Two Beers – the almost-always-used answer by drunk drivers when asked how much they’ve had to drink

Walkin’ the Dog – taking a break

Walnut Shampoo – yep, you guessed it, using a wooden baton to deliver a polite “love tap” to a combative suspect’s head

Whale – black and white police car with no lightbar

Yardbird – a suspect who springs from the bushes and takes off running

Zebra – a sergeant who’s not well-liked. An “ass” with stripes

8 replies
  1. Coco
    Coco says:

    Love the “Scooby Snack” getting the bad guy!! Who would have ever thought that cops have all that funny slang! Shows how human they are! Thanks Lee for another great blog.

  2. Sally Carpenter
    Sally Carpenter says:

    These are terrific! Only in my part of SoCal motorists don’t “roll” through stop signs; they zoom through without slowing down at all.

  3. docb
    docb says:

    Love the 2 beers – we have something similar in the ER when an obviously intoxicated and beat-up patient comes in. The standard line is, “There I was, minding my own business, when two dudes, for no reason…” and they’ve always only had two beers. We decided that “two beers” is code for two 40-oz’ers. Or two kegs. LOL!

  4. Dave
    Dave says:

    In this part of PA (Northeast), we call your ‘California Roll’ a ‘Coke Stop’ (The pause that refreshes).

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