PostHeaderIcon Police Terminology

Law enforcement has a language all its own, and without a translator civilians can sometimes feel left out of the conversation. Here are a few simple terms worth remembering.

Affidavit - a written statement of facts given under oath.

Bond - money or other security posted with the court to guarantee an appearance.

CI – confidential informant.

City – referring to officers who work for city police departments. (“The city will handle that case). The same is true for county and state.

Civil case – a private lawsuit, not one brought by the state.

Complaint – a statement given under oath where someone accuses another person of a crime. Officers may also refer to a call as a complaint. (“Man, I caught two loud music complaints in one hour last night.”)

Complainant – person who accuses another. Or, someone who called the police. (“Go to 1313 Mockingbird Lane. The complainant’s name is Herman Munster.”)

Cook – make crack cocaine or methamphetamine.

Cooker - person who makes crack cocaine or methamphetamine.

Hit – outstanding warrant, or stolen. “We got a hit on that car.”

Hook ‘em Up – to handcuff a prrisoner.

Hot – stolen.

Information – Paperwork (document) filed by a prosecutor that accuses someone of a crime.

Knock and announce – requirement that officers knock on the door and announce their presence when serving a search warrant. (Police. Search warrant!)

OIC – officer in charge.

PC – probable cause. (“Do you have enough PC to get a warrant?”)

Plastic - credit card.

Priors – previous arrests.

Ride the chair – die by electrocution.

Ride the needle – Die by lethal injection.

Roll up – arrest someone.

Stripes – a sergeant’s patch or insignia.

T-Bone – broadsided in an crash.

Verbal - a warning. (“I gave him a verbal, but next time his butt’s going to jail.”)

Visual – able to see something or someone. (“Have you got a visual?”)

UC – undercover officer.

Walk – to get off a charge. Released without a record.

Write – issue a summons.

“Did you write him?”

“Yep. 87 in a 55.”

VIN – Vehicle Identification number. (“Run the VIN on that car to see if you get a hit.”)

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