Crime Writers’ Dictionary: Gabaloo to Hydrant Humper

“Get small, Spanky, Jr., here comes a ghetto bird!”

Not familiar with the terminology? No problem. Here’s G through H from our handy-dandy, mini crime writer’s dictionary.

G.

Gabaloo – a real dumbass who believes he’s heaven’s gift to everything on earth—the best singer, the sexiest, etc.

Gag Order – When a defendant becomes unruly a judge may order that he be bound and gagged to prevent further disruptions. The term is also used when a judge orders attorneys, witnesses, etc. to not discuss a case outside the courtroom. Note – Some would prefer the bound and gagging approach be used on attorneys as well as a defendant/client.

Gear Hound – An officer who has far more equipment than that issued by the department. A gear hound is frequently seen shopping in police supply stores.

Get Small – Hide, or run away.

Ghetto Bird – Police helicopter.

Ghetto Cattle – A pack of feral or abandoned dogs.

Ghost Riding – A patrol car rolling down the street without a driver. Officers sometimes are in such a hurry when arriving at the scene they simply forget to shift to park.

GGW – Girls gone wild.

Gh3tto – Gangster

Good Cause – A legal excuse for doing something that’s typically considered illegal. (Think politicians).

Good Moral Character – Do NOT think politicians.

Gorilla Anus/Gorilla Ass – term used when someone refuses to do something you want them to do. “No, Lil’ Dirt Bag won’t go to the store to get me no Cheetos. He’s being a real gorilla ass.”

Gorilla Biscuits – an old street term for meth.  Zookeepers may have another definition.

Grass Widow – A woman separated from her husband by abandonment.

Grill – Teeth, or face.

H.

Habeus Corpus – To bring a party before the judge.  The most common of the writs is to release a prisoner from unlawful imprisonment. Jailhouse lawyers make a living drafting these for fellow inmates.

Habeus Grab-Ass – To catch/arrest a suspect.

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Hairbag – Rookie who thinks he knows it all, even if he’s only been on the job for an hour.

Hatch Act – Statute prohibiting federal, state, and local employees from participating in certain political activities.

Hats and Bats – Riot gear—helmets and batons.

Horner – A person/addict who inhales/snorts heroin rather than inject it.

Hillbilly Meth – Mountain Dew (soft drink). The soda was given the nickname due to its high sugar content.

Holster Sniffer – A woman who has sex with cops simply because they’re cops. AKA – Holster Humper, Cop Stalker, Badge Bunny.

Horizontal Highway Hostess – Prostitute who works the streets.

House Mouse – Officer who typically works behind a desk.

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House Mouse

Hurrication – Time off work due to do storms.

Hooptie – Any car that’s still rolling despite troubles, such as windows that won’t roll up or down, hood or trunk lid wired shut with baling wire, missing window glasses covered with garbage bags and duct tape, broken taillights covered with red duct tape, missing hubcaps, radio antennae missing but replaced with coat hanger, and so on. “Lawdy, is Bubba still driving that old hooptie car his daddy bought from the junk yard? “

Hot Blood – When someone’s emotions/passions have been heightened to an uncontrollable degree. A case of “hot blood” may be cause to reduce a murderer’s charge to a lesser offense.

Hydrant Humper – Firefighter.

Hulk-Out – To become extremely angry in an instant. “Seargent, be careful with that guy. He’ll hulk-out on you in a heartbeat. Took six of us to get him cuffed last time.”

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A Crime Writer’s Mini Dictionary: E – F

Has your protagonist ever been at a loss for the right words? Do her fans believe what she’s saying? Well, to help prevent those embarrassing moments, here are a few terms that might help when she’s out and about in Fictionville.

E.

EC – Emergency Contact

EDP – Emotionally Disturbed Person

Eight Ball – 1/8th ounce of cocaine/meth/crack (3.5 grams).

Eighth Amendment – Prohibits cruel and unusual punishment and excessive bails and fines.

Embezzlement – Fraudulent appropriation of property or funds to one’s own use. It is a larceny.

En Banc – A matter that’s considered by the full court, such as all judges of an appellate court rather than only one or two.

Entrapment – Defense which excuses a defendant from criminal activity because that illegal activity was a result of government persuasion/trickery.

Erroist – Someone who repeatedly makes mistakes. A true dumbass.

ERT – Evidence Eradication Team (Fire and EMS personnel when they arrive on and trample the scene of, well, anything).

Exclusionary Rule – Prohibits the introduction of evidence acquired by improper or illegal police action (improper search and seizure, etc.).

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Extradition – The surrender by one state to another of an accused or convicted person. A state governor has the right to demand the return of a person/suspect as long as probable cause of a crime exists.

Eye Socket Stabilization – Nickname for the self defense tactic where the victim uses their fingers to gouge the eyes of an attacker. Very effective.

 

F.

Fact-finder – Judge or jury charged with determining the facts of a court proceeding.

FADAR – Sitting on the side of the road giving the appearance of running radar, but with absolutely no intention of stopping a car. It’s a great tactic for reducing the speed of travelers. It’s also a great time to read a few pages from a favorite novel.

False Arrest – Unlawful restraint of one’s personal liberty.

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FD – Fire Department

Felony – A high/serious crime typically punishable by imprisonment (in prison, not jail), or death.

Felony Blue – When the chemical in a field test kit for cocaine turns blue. A positive result.

Fighting Words – Words that incite violence and breach of the peace, and that cause injury.

Fire Bomb – Any container of flammable material such as gasoline and/or kerosene or other chemical compound, and having a wick composed of any material which is capable of igniting the contained flammable material.

Flight – Leaving or concealment/hiding to avoid arrest.

Forcible Entry – Entering the property of another without that person’s permission. In some areas a mere trespass is considered forcible entry.

Fourth Amendment – Prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.

Fratricide – The killing of one’s brother.

FTD – Fixing To Die (used, particularly in the south, when describing a severely injured victim of a vehicle crash).“Rescue is on the way to the ER with the driver, but he’s FTD.”

Fresh Pursuit (Hot Pursuit) – An immediate, ongoing chase of a fleeing criminal suspect who is attempting to avoid capture. During a fresh pursuit officers may cross jurisdictional boundaries and they’re permitted to make an arrest of the fleeing subject without a warrant.

FTA – Failure To Appear (miss a court date).


A Crime Writer’s Mini Dictionary: A – D

Writers often find themselves searching for just the right police terminology or phrase. Unfortunately, the answers to their questions aren’t always available at a glance. You know the questions I’m talking about … Are kidnapping and abduction one in the same? And what the heck is a bucket head? Yeah, those kind of questions. Well, here’s a mini dictionary that might be of some use.

A.

Abandonment:  Knowingly giving up one’s right to property without further intending to reclaim or gain possession. Abandoned property can be searched by police officers without a search warrant. Most states deem it illegal to abandon motor vehicles, and the owner may be summoned to civil court to answer charges, pay fines, or to receive notice of vehicle impoundment and disposal.

Abduction:  The criminal act of taking someone away by force, depriving that person of liberty or freedom. A person who has been kidnapped against their will has been abducted. This definition does not apply to a law-enforcement officer in the performance of his duties.

*FYI writers – Local police agencies can and do investigate kidnapping/abduction cases. I’ve worked and solved several. The FBI does NOT have to be called for abduction cases.

Abscond:  To covertly leave the jurisdiction of the court or hide to avoid prosecution or arrest. A suspect who “jumps bail” or hides from police, while knowing a warrant has been issued for her arrest, has absconded from justice. Film director/producer Roman Polanski absconded to France before he could be sentenced for having unlawful sex with a minor.

AMBER Alert:  The AMBER alert was created in Dallas, Texas as a legacy to nine year-old Amber Hagerman who was kidnapped and murdered. AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. An AMBER alert is issued when law-enforcement officials determine a child has been abducted. Immediately after verification of the kidnapping, officials contact broadcasters and state-transportation officials, who in turn relay descriptions of the child and their abductor to radio, television, electronic road signs, and other highly visible sites.

Armed Robbery:  Robbery is the act of taking, or seizing, someone’s property by using force, fear, or intimidation. Using a weapon, such as a gun, knife, or club, to carry out the same robbery constitutes an armed robbery. You have NOT been robbed when someone breaks into your home while you’re away and steals your TV.

For example, I recently saw “Breaking News” headline that read something like, “FAMOUS MUSICIAN ROBBED.” I expected to read about a methed-up troll pointing a rusty knife at the rocker and then making off with his fortune. Instead, the story was about some loser who waited until no was looking and then stole five guitars from a deserted sound stage. Huge difference. This was not a robbery. Instead, it was larceny of property. There was no threat and no intimidation and no weapon of any kind. There wasn’t even anyone around to receive a dirty look from the thief.

A**hole:  Police slang for suspect or perpetrator. (You fill in the blanks. Hint: the first letters of Sinking Ship will work nicely. The same works for the next entry as well).

A**wipe:  Police slang for suspect or perpetrator.

 

B.

B & E:  Break and enter (see Break and Enter).

Bad Check:  A check that has been drawn upon an account of insufficient funds, or on an account that has been closed. A person who writes and utters (cashes) a bad check is considered to have committed larceny, or the theft of cash money. Most states consider bad-check writing to be a misdemeanor; however, some states consider the offense to be a felony if the check is written for more than a specific amount set by law, such as a minimum amount of $200. Suspects who are arrested for writing and passing bad checks are usually released on their own recognizance, with their signed promise to appear in court for trial.

Badge Bunny:  Nickname given by police officers to females who prefer to date only police officers and firemen. Many of these badge bunnies actively pursue recent police academy graduates to the point of actually stalking the officers. Some have even committed minor offenses and made false police complaints to be near the officers they desire. Many police academies mention badge bunnies near the end of the officer’s academy training to prepare them for the possible situation.

Biological Weapon:  Agents used to threaten or destroy human life, e.g. anthrax, smallpox, E. coli, etc.

Picking up bacteria from agar plate. The brownish-red material is the agar. The grayish-yellow coloring at the top of the agar is E.coli bacteria. When incubated, the number of bacteria can double every twenty minutes. Yes, I took this photo, and I must say that it’s a bit intimidating to be in a room where scientists are hard at work with this stuff. And yes, those are the hands of my adorable, but deadly, wife. I sleep with one eye open…

Bitch:  1) Complain. 2) Typically, physically weak and passive prisoners controlled by other dominant inmates. The “bitch” is normally forced into performing sexual favors for controlling inmates. The submissive inmates are often forced into servitude for the duration of their sentences.

Bitch Slap:  Any open-handed strike to the face. The term is often used to describe a humiliating defeat. “It was embarrassing for John to be bitch-slapped by Larry, a man half his size.”

Blow:  Slang for cocaine.

Blow Away:  To kill someone by shooting.

BOLO:  Be On The Lookout. “Officers issued a BOLO at 0400 hours for the suspect of an armed robbery.” BOLO has replaced the use of APB (All Points Bulletin) in nearly all areas of the country.

Break and Enter:  These are the words used to describe the essential elements of a burglary in the night time. The actual breaking need only be a slight action, such as opening an unlocked window or pushing open a door that is already ajar. In some states, merely crossing the plane of an open window or door (in the night time) is all that’s needed to constitute a break. The intent to commit a felony in conjunction with the breaking must be present to constitute Breaking and Entering.

Bucket Head:  Term used to describe a motorcycle officer, because of the helmets they’re required to wear when riding.

Bust:  1) To place someone under arrest. 2) To conduct a police raid, especially a drug raid.

 

C.

Can:  A prison or jail. “When does Riley get out of the can?”

Capias:  The process of seizing a person and/or their property for the purpose of answering a particular charge in a court of law. A judge can issue a Capias, also known as a Warrant for Failure to Appear, for anyone who has been summoned to court but does not appear. A Capias is normally issued by the court for suspects in criminal matters who fail to appear for their hearings and for witnesses who do not show up for their scheduled court appearances. A Capias is a criminal warrant, and the subject must be processed in the same way as any other criminal—he or she arrested, fingerprinted, and photographed. It is not unusual for a judge to dismiss the charge of  Failure to Appear once the person is actually brought to the courtroom and successfully completes his or her testimony.

Cooking The Books:  Fixing police reports to make certain high-crime areas appear safer. Also, a person who alters any type of records or documents is often said to be “cooking the books.”

Cop:  1) To steal something. “Susan copped two necklaces while the clerk was on the telephone.”  2) Slang for a police officer. Many police officers take offense to the term being used by the general public. Instead, those officers prefer to be addressed as police officers.

Cop a Plea:  To plead guilty to a lesser included offense to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.

County Mounties:   Slang for sheriff’s deputies.

Crooked Zebra:   A referee who has been bribed to fix the outcome of a sporting event.

Crop Dusting:  Passing gas (flatulence) while walking through a crowd of people.

 

D.

Deck:  A packet of narcotics.

Dirt Bag:  An old-school police nickname for a criminal suspect. “Cuff that dirt bag, Officer Jenkins. He’s wanted for murder.”

Do:  To kill someone. When are you gonna do that dirtbag, Sammy?”

DOA:  Dead on arrival.

Drop:  To take a drug by mouth; orally. “Cindy dropped a hit of acid three hours ago. She’s really tripping hard.”


Crime Writer’s Dictionary: From KA To Mugshot

Crime writer's dictionary

 

Junior Franklin, well known to all the local cops for his kiting expertise, was keeping-six in a beat up and rusty loser-cruiser while his KA, Little Larry Mazo, set a bit of Lex talionis in motion on the kiddie cop who once gave him a severe case of lead poisoning.

Not familiar with the terminology in the previous and somewhat odd sentence? No problem. Here’s K through M from our handy-dandy, mini crime writer’s dictionary.

K.

KA – Known associate

Keepers – Thin leather straps used to attach a gun belt to an under belt, or dress belt.

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Belt keeper

Without belt keepers the duty belt would easily and quickly fall down to your ankles, especially when chasing someone through a dark alley.

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Two belt keepers positioned between handcuff cases

Keeping a Gambling House – A proprietor is said to be “keeping a gambling house” if he has knowledge and consents to gambling at or on his premises, or at a place under his control. If true, the proprietor is guilty of Keeping a Gambling House.

Keeping Six – Watching your back. The numerical reference is to the number six on a clock face. Standing at the center of the clock, facing twelve, six would be to your rear.

Kiddie Cop – School Resource Officer.

Kill – To deprive of life.

Kiting – Taking advantage of the time between when a check is deposited and when the funds are collected at another bank. This time period is known as “the float.” Drawing checks against deposits/funds which have not yet cleared. Writing checks against an account having funds insufficient to cover the check amount(s).

Kleptomania – An irresistible, uncontrollable propensity to steal things.

Knock and Announce – The rule that requires police to knock and announce their presence and purpose before entering a home. No-knock search warrants are the exception to the rule.

 

L.

Laundering – Transfer of money gained illegally into legal channels for the purpose of hiding its true source.

Lawn Ornament – An intoxicated person who passed out in someone’s front yard.

Lay Witness – Person offering testimony who is not an expert on the subject matter at hand.

Lead Poisoning – Shot multiple times. “Wow, twenty-three gunshot wounds. The cause of death is definitely lead poisoning.”

Lex talionis – The law of retaliation. An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.

Light ‘Em Up – Activate emergency/blue lights. Initiate a traffic stop. “That car matches the description of the one used in the armed robbery. Light ’em up.” This phrase was often used on the television show Southland.

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Liquid Jesus – Pepper spray…because it has the capability to instantly convert the mean and nasty into sweet and compliant.

L.K.A. – Last Known Address

Lockdown – To temporarily confine prisoners to their cells during an emergency, or for added security during, after, or to prevent an “event.”.

Lockup – Temporary holding facility.

Looky-Loo – A person who cannot resist watching anything related to police, fire, EMS, train wreck, car crash, and general death and/or dismemberment. AKA Rubberneckers.

Loser Cruiser – A retired police car, now civilian-owned. Typically, the loser cruiser still has at least one spotlight still attached, as well as a couple of other police-type identifiers—antenna, etc. These cars are often purchased and driven by cop wannabe’s.

 

M.

Mace-greff – In Old English law, one who buys stolen goods. A fence.

Mail Fraud – The use of the mail to defraud (mailing a letter to set a scheme in motion, or to continue the criminal act). Mail fraud is a federal offense.

Major Crimes – Unofficially, the broad classification of the most serious crimes—Murder, Rape, Robbery, etc. Lt. Leadfoot is the detective in charge of the Major Crimes Division.

Malice – Intentionally committing a wrongful act, with the intent of causing an injury of some type.

Manslaughter – Unlawful (inexcusable) killing someone without premeditation or malice.

M.E.  – Medical Examiner

Mens Rea – A criminal intent.

M.O. – Modus operandi, or method of operation. A pattern of behavior.

MCT – Mobile Computer Terminal

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Monger – A seller, or dealer. For example, fishmonger.

Mug Book – A collection of mugshots/photos of suspected and convicted criminals.

Mugshot – Photo taken of suspect during booking/processing.

 

Crime Writer’s Dictionary: From ICE to Justifiable Homicide

Crime writer's dictionary

 

“We’d better jet, Spanky, Jr. Here comes Pork Chop Ledbetter and he’s totin’ that nine with one in the pipe!”

Not familiar with the terminology? No problem. Here’s I through J from our handy-dandy, mini crime writer’s dictionary.

I.

ICE – Immigration and Customs Enforcement

ICE is also an acronym for “in case of emergency,” and it’s a nickname for methamphetamine.

Illegal – Not authorized by law.

Illegally Obtained Evidence – Evidence obtained in violation of a person’s rights (officers had no warrant or probable cause to arrest, seize property, etc.).

Imminent – Near at hand. “The threat to his life was imminent.”

Imprisonment – Detention of a person against their will/wishes.

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Indecent – Offensive. Obscene. Vulgar. (See politician).

§ 18.2-67.2. Inanimate object sexual penetration; penalty. (Virginia law) An accused shall be guilty of inanimate or animate object sexual penetration if he or she penetrates the labia majora or anus of a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, other than for a bona fide medical purpose, or causes such complaining witness to so penetrate his or her own body with an object or causes a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, to engage in such acts with any other person or to penetrate, or to be penetrated by, an animal, and

1. The complaining witness is less than 13 years of age; or

2. The act is accomplished against the will of the complaining witness, by force, threat or intimidation of or against the complaining witness or another person, or through the use of the complaining witness’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness.

Indictment – A charge, in writing, investigated and found by a grand jury.

Informer – A person who discloses information regarding violations of the law.

In jure – According to the law.

Innocent – Free from guilt.

In The Pipe – A weapon with one round in the chamber.

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In The Wind – The suspect is a runner/has fled the scene. “Little Earl took off as soon as he saw the police car. Man, he was in the wind.”

J.

Jack Wagon – Jerk/idiot. “I don’t care if he is your captain, that guy’s a real jack wagon.”

JAFR – Just another f***ing rookie.

Jailitis – The mysterious illness/injury suddenly contracted the moment handcuffs are applied. “Easy, man, I have a bad heart and you’re going to make me have one of my spells. Besides, I’m allergic to jail sheets.”

Jail Credit – Time served while waiting for trial. Jail credit is deducted from the overall sentence.

Jet – Get out of here! “The cops are on the way, Boo, so I’m ’bout to jet.”

Jiggle Keys – Homemade keys used to pick (jiggle) locks on automobiles.

John Wayne – Assuming an over-the-top tough-guy role. “Old Chicken-Wing Jenkins went all John Wayne on that guy. Messed him up, too. I heard the ‘other guy’ has three broken ribs.”

New Picture

Junior Officer – Next thing to toilet tissue stuck to the bottom of a veteran officer’s shoe.

Jurisdiction – An area of authority. Sheriff Lock M. Up has jurisdiction over the entire county and all towns and cities within.

Justifiable Homicide – Killing of another in self-defense or the defense of others.