The Language Of Police: Cop Slang

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

5 thoughts on “The Language Of Police: Cop Slang

  • Snowprince

    A few more Lee:

    Gone Fishing – Suspended from duty

    Sick, Lame & Lazy – Derogatory nickname for desk officers

    Pop Spot – Restaurant that gives police and fire discounts

    Freeway Therapy – Transferring a problem or disliked officer to the division or assignment farthest from home. An unofficial form of punishment.

    9 From the Sky – Alternative baton technique NOT taught in the academy, opposite of the old “3 from the ring” (see the various “shampoos”)

    Metro Tux – White t-shirt, uniform trousers and duty shoes/boots. Worn off duty, mostly at cop bars and to post watch “choir practice”

  • liz

    As a life guard, we use the term “code brown” but that had a much different meaning. Think the pool scene in Caddyshack.

    In the late great Southland, they used to talk about “kiwi shampoos” –what were or are those?

  • Snowprince

    Kiwi Shampoo – To apply one’s boots, shined with Kiwi shoe polish, to someone else’s head.

  • marcy

    These are great. I’ve heard some of them, but not all. Thanks for sharing.

    As a nurse, we used “code brown” for patients who needed cleaning up (and sometimes their entire room needed cleaning) and “frequent flyers” as those who were often in the hospital.

  • Doug Cummings

    Then there’s the “tune up.” As in, referring to a beating victim, “They really tuned him up.”

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