Cops of Reddit were asked: “What’s the worst thing you’ve seen a fellow officer do? If you’ve had to, how do you feel about having to work with ‘dirty’ or ‘unprofessional’ cops?” These are some of the best answers.
I reported a probationary officer for anti-Hispanic statements and general thuggish behavior (really pro using force). Got him terminated. Then heard from my brass he messaged another officer saying he knew it was me and I should watch my back. And that’s how my wife conceded to let me buy a shotgun.
His exact words on the initial statement were, “I can’t wait until it’s open season on Mexicans”. Then spoke at length about his plan to curb immigration (with a gun). My city is like 30% Hispanic. That shit won’t fly.
I’m a former Cop. The worst thing I have personally witnessed was a police honor guard member carrying the casket of his partner that he had murdered. The shooter was off-duty that night and was busy burglarizing a local business when his partner caught him in the act. From what we understand, the shooter wanted his partner to cover it up and not say anything. After his partner refused, the shooter distracted the partner by pointing at something and when the partner turned to look the shooter shot him in the back of the head with his service 9mm.
The pistol he killed him with was literally bumping the casket as he carried him to his grave.
I Had an officer get bribed into bringing cigarettes into the prison for about $300 a pack.
The list goes on with stupid shit that staff will end up doing for inmates for such little money. You have people throwing away their job that pays $50,000+ a year for a few hundred dollars. It just comes down to people being weak minded and greedy. For some reason we always have dirty staff around and it is hard to pick out the idiots.
I used to be a deputy for the local sheriffs office. I was still a rookie and had a call once for an attempted suicide by hanging. I responded and saved the lady who was unconscious and very intoxicated. I later found out she was a member of the local government in charge of the budget. She accused me of lying on my report and I was written up.
Later I was suspended for some minor “policy” related issues by the sheriffs internal affairs. Issues which were not exactly explained to me and since I was new I didn’t have “rights” to fight the allegations. So I sued the sheriffs office and cleared my name. Three months later the sheriffs office obtained brand new cruisers, uniforms, and an armored truck. Seemed to my family and I that the sheriffs office covered up her. And in return obtained new toys.
There was a guy that used to work in my department who would show up to his shift sauced up. I was about three years on when I first encountered it. I got into the police car with him and smelled booze and the usual masking agents such as cologne and mouthwash. We don’t ride double – he was giving me a ride to pick up another police car from the shop, maybe (I forget). He was my assigned partner for that midnight shift, and I felt a uneasiness like never before. This guy was supposed to back me up, and he was intoxicated or at the very least, he had consumed some amount of alcohol. How could I trust him with my life or the lives of the citizens of the community we protect?
At shift change, one of the sergeants pulled me aside and asked me I thought “Frank” had been drinking. I said yes, and told my sergeant that I didn’t know what to do. He and I filed an officer’s report right then and there. Frank lost his job shortly thereafter as a result of this report and the following investigation.
Frank wasn’t a bad guy. He had a reputation for being a strange duck, but not an jerk. He had a number of excellent arrests and commendations in his career as well. He was an alcoholic. But not everyone can or should wear the badge. This was many years ago, and whenever I think about it, I think about how I should have spoken up immediately after getting out of the car with him instead of waiting a few hours to tell the sergeant.
I talked to the sergeant about it after the case closed. I should have done something sooner that night, but didn’t know what to do. I admitted that I felt foolish and guilty for being afraid of being seen as a rat or something stupid even though I knew outting him was the right thing to do. The sergeant told me bad reputations and negative images prevail when decent cops turn the other way. Many years have passed and our department is full of young blood. I know the cynical assumption is that the blue wall is tight and things always get swept under the rug, but by me it’s just not the case. I learned early that my coworkers had a strong sense of integrity, and these values have been reinforced time and time again with the new generation.
I’m an ex-cop in Australia. It’s far more common than you think, but far less extreme than you would imagine. For instance attending an AR at a petrol station, I’ve seen cops just grab a chocolate milk and just walk out when they leave knowing the attendant will say nothing cause… well.. he’s a cop.
Plenty of times I knew evidence didn’t make it back or get reported (cash, drugs, electronic items). If you ever pointed a finger it would come back to bite you though
Worst I ever saw was a guy driving a government-vehicle off-duty, and in plainclothes, slugging a beer and walking into a movie theater. Slugged another one when he came out, tossed the empty in the passenger seat, and drove off.
Blew him in to Internal Affairs. I don’t tolerate corruption or dirty cops. Not reporting it could lose me my job, and their actions not only make my agency look bad, but also taint public trust, which breeds animosity, which makes my job harder.
F*ck ’em, they’re dirty, there are 100 guys waiting for their shot right behind them. No breaks for minor things either. Cops should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one.
I was a Corrections Officer for a short time. At the end of our training, we went to the state capital as a group to take our certification exam. We hung out in a group drinking with our instructors, who were also Corrections Officers. At the end of the night, there were just a few of us still in the hotel bar area; a male instructor, three male trainees (including myself), and a female trainee. At that point, one of our instructors started to grope one of the female trainees and whisper things to her. She was super uncomfortable, and the rest of the trainees and I made an excuse that we needed to leave, taking her with us.
The next day, I came forward and told another instructor. With the dirty instructor’s actions seeming so over the top, and the presence of two other witnesses besides myself, I thought this guy would easily get fired.
During the investigation, I was brought into a room with four high-level officers within my organization. They grilled me like I was the one that committed the crime and treated me like a liar that was just trying to get this guy in trouble. I had a positive view of him before the event in question.
Eventually, I found out that the other two male witnesses refused to give any information about what happened (or were intimidated to keep quiet). The victim was apparently treated way worse than I was, and she left the job not too long after that. I stayed on the job for a few months for a couple of different reasons. The dirtbag retained his position and as far as I know, is still in an instructor role.
I caught a fellow officer (my unit, but not my shift/team) drinking and driving. Apprehended him (military version of arrest); my work lead to his conviction and bad conduct discharge.
I quit 18 months ago for a job that pays real money. I worked in suburban America for a low crime city. I backed another guy on a call, I don’t remember what it was initially for. The guy we contacted at his apartment was Latino and I speak Spanish (I’m a whitey) so I translated for the other cop.
He got the info he needed and then started telling me to ask him a bunch of legal status stuff. I went along with it for a minute or two until the cop started trying to get me to sling hate about illegals and crap like that. I changed from more or less verbatim translation to “he says this and he says that….” and I started to leave a bunch of his rhetoric out.
When he (the cop) asked if I had told him everything he said I replied that what he was saying was bull shit and I wasn’t going to sling hate. He started to rebut and I said, “We’re done here right? and walked off. The other cop was pissed at me and tried to talk to me about it later in the shift. I told him I didn’t feel the same way about immigration and that I wasn’t going to be his mouth piece for that type of stuff and that if he wasn’t happy about it he should learn Spanish so he could tell them himself. He was pretty pissed at me.
I later talked to my Sergeant about it because I was still pretty new and the other cop got pulled into the office for a chat. It’s pretty tame I know, but we were a pretty small city and department. We didn’t have a ton of crazy stuff going on. For perspective we averaged two homicides per year over the last ten and socio-economically the city was upper middle with pockets of upper.
My former lieutenant deleted reports and erased emails in a assault of an inmate by another inmate. He also made us make a woman pay bond to get out of jail, who was arrested on a case of mistaken identity. I wrote a statement for the woman’s lawsuit, and quit not too long after that.
Honor, integrity, and respect are never betrayed. I will always hold myself and others accountable for having the courage to do the right thing. In reality 99% of the people I have worked with are great, lawful people. It’s that one percent that make the news.
A Friend showed up for work still drunk (didn’t drive in, took the bus) the morning after his transfer party. I would’ve covered for him but he told the captain off when confronted and I was right there. Nothing came of it except that he was persona non grata at our station.
My new platoon Sergeant made several inappropriate decisions over a period of a few months. I also found out that he was taking days off and fraudulently claiming he had court related to his old detail. We reported him and he was canned after an investigation.
I’ve Seen a lot. I work for a larger department that has had a very well publicized problem with corruption and bad behavior of its officers. We have an awful reputation in the area as a result of stupid things officers have done, be it corruption, idiotic behavior or whatever. A couple examples are:
Our ex-chief routinely had officers called to his residence for large parties he would throw. These would normally involve a fair amount of underage people, booze and a lot of pills. It was common for the officers that responded to the call to suddenly be promoted or end up on a specialty unit of their choosing shortly afterwards.
Preferential treatment for certain officers (see above) or citizens due to their influence with command staff. At the same time, punishment of officers who spoke out against the chief or his lackies, specifically a supervisor who had his schedule changed routinely so he was always working opposite his spouse in an effort to ruin their marriage.
A personal example, a former chief who used his influence to trick me into dropping a felony case that involved charges in two jurisdictions stemming from the same incident. The Chief contacted me saying the prosecutor for the other jurisdiction has worked out a deal whereby we drop our charges and he pleads to the more serious charge there. Later found out he sold that same line to the other jurisdiction so the defendant got off scot-free.
An officer purposefully hurting a psych patient when he was becoming agitated (i.e. he put his knee on his face on the ground for no reason, ended up punching the girl officer he was working with because she went to protect the psych patient’s face)
I worked at an agency where two officers seized an 18-pack of beer from some underage gangsters and cited them for it. Instead of booking the beer as evidence, they took it and drank after their shift. When it finally got to Internal Affairs, one lied and one didn’t. They both got fired. Not too bad, but it’s nice to see zero tolerance no matter the severity.
The worst thing I’ve been around was another officer drunk driving. I arrested him. He was twice the legal limit and had no business on the roadway.
I heard rumblings from some people saying that I shouldn’t ever arrest a cop, mostly second hand. My department backed me completely and was given a pat on the back for making a hard decision that many wouldn’t. Worked with the guy a year later and he thanked me. We’re no different from the rest of the nation with our problems, but we have to be better.
I work in the city jail. A lot of people seem to love to abuse their power. The ones that get to me the most are people who mess with inmates with mental disabilities or disorders. Its one thing to play along with their delusions to keep them calm. Its another to lie to them and start shit cause your bored and think its funny. This is truly the most appalling thing I’ve seen.
We all tell small white lies on occasion especially to those who try to abuse the way certain processes work. The clinic for example, they will attempt to go down around chow times in order to scam extra food, I will say okay let me call if its not a “serious issue” and make a fake phone call and then tell the inmate the have a medical emergency they told me to call back in an hour if the have a serious medical issue as in chest pains I will escort them… its amazing how often they change their mind at that point.
My inmates respect me because I give them respect to begin with the amount changes depending on how much of an ass they are but it can be gained back over time. They have seen me yell, they’ve seen me fight, they’ve seen me save a life. I will always make time for someone who is depressed and just needs an ear to get stuff off his chest. Basically I treat people like they should be treated, as humans.
I witnessed another officer make comments to a bad guy that strongly suggested she was intimately involved with him. Asked a few other female officers what they thought and the response was universally, “Write a report!”
Went to a trusted supervisor, told him what was up. I wrote a confidential report, he wrote a confidential report, we took them to command. She left the department voluntarily a few months later. I was a rookie at the time but, evidently, there was suspicions about her for quite a while.
There seems to be a widespread belief that officers “cover” for one another and I think it is a misconception. Now, listen, I will help a good officer in a bad spot, absolutely. That help must be for an otherwise good officer and it must meet three requirements: it can not be 1) Illegal, 2) Immoral or 3) Unethical.
We are all human. We make mistakes. If it is an honest mistake or a stupid mistake, I will do what I can within the confines of the rules to soften the blow to a good cop’s career. You said something stupid because you thought it was funny (real scenario)? OK, you need to go apologize right now. They’re still upset? I will go talk to them explain that you screwed up but you’re genuinely sorry. They’re still upset? Listen, Officer Moron, you messed up, dude. Report yourself. Reporting yourself is always the best course of action. Everyone knows mistakes happen, show that you recognize it and take responsibility.
The worst thing for me was when I was only about a year into the job. I covered another officer on a traffic stop which resulted in an illegal search of the vehicle (the known drug dealer didn’t give consent, the cop searched anyway). Because I was new to the job I went with it thinking he knew something I did not know. Later found out that he had no legal basis for the search and was just doing it because the guy was a known drug dealer. It is not politically correct to search a car.
Nothing was ever found and the guy was free to leave after that. I never reported it to anyone or really ever talked about it after that. Reason for that was the guy was very happy we let him go and we didn’t find anything. I figured no harm done to anyone so why say anything about it? The same cop was eventually fired about a year later for some other stuff.
Looking back on it now I should have at least told my sergeant about the search that way it wouldn’t be on me anymore.