Even if your ride-along was from the couch, would you know how to answer this quiz for COPS?

By: Deane Kimerer
Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

They look out for us and keep the roads safe... Buckle up, check your rear view, and see if you recognize your town's BLUE lights by taking this COPS quiz!

Is this show only about the inside of police departments, or does it also show street activity?

Law enforcement go many places within one shift. They are in briefings with their upper command squad and their fellow officers; meeting with victims, under-covers, and suspects; driving in their vehicles; looking up information and typing reports on their laptops;, writing citations; talking on the radio and cell phone; shooting at the range; appearing in court; in jails, in prisons, searching for suspects or inquiring with victims or relatives in homes, businesses and the streets.

Do police officers put cuffs on anyone they stop?

No, they put cuffs on suspects when they endanger the officer, themselves or someone nearby or if they are considered a flight risk. The police explain why the cuffs are needed and if the subject ends up not being arrested, the cuffs are then taken off.

Is COPS filmed in the same city for every episode?

It is more entertaining when the city and state change frequently for both the viewers and for the departments being shown in the show.

Are the police officers always wearing the same color uniform?

Each agency has itsown uniform. If it's a deputy uniform for the sheriff's department, it is one style and color. If it is a city department, it is another style and color. If it's SWAT, they might serve also as a street cop, but this added position has its own specialized responsibilities also involving equipment.

Are some smaller towns contracted out as part of a larger law enforcement agency?

Smaller towns can't afford to have their own police departments, so they work as part of the sheriff's department, but have their own city's name on their vehicles. Their uniforms are the same as the sheriff's departments and they are called deputies.

Is there a camera person actually in the squad car and in the dangerous scenes?

The camera person isn't said to be law enforcement or not, however it would make sense considering most of the shows are action-packed!

Who said, "What ya gonna do when they come for you?"

Even if someone doesn't watch the TV series, it's easy to recognize this theme song with the catchy lyrics and upbeat tempo. Active scenes of chases are often partnered up as this song plays.

Do police officers have a camera operator, or do they wear body cameras in "COPS?"

More and more departments are adding body cameras on their officers' uniforms. It is a liability issue in two ways: to show the city citizens' board (some cities like Seattle hired to be non-partisan watchdogs after the DOJ investigated SPD) and the citizens the officers' actions, as well as to protect the officers if citizens accuse them of wrongdoing.

What is a chevron on a police officer's uniform?

One chevron indicates a PFC: Private First Class. Two chevrons indicate a Corporal. Three Chevrons indicate a Sergeant. With each grade, there is a different look.The chevron symbol dates back to 1820, but back then, it was pointed downward until 1903 when it began to be both up and down; on 5/1/03, it was approved to be in the up direction. The chevron is meant as a badge of honor for those are who "top of the house" as an architectural analogy.

Does an officer carry his/her duty belt on his/her person anywhere he/she goes?

The duty belt holds more than a firearm and can have more than just one weapon on it (it varies but can include these weapons: firearm, ammo mags, baton, knife, pepper spray/mace, taser etc.). For WA State, no one is allowed armed in a jail, including police officers transporting arrestees. For WA courts, commissioned police officers, correction officers, federal law enforcement officers and judges can wear firearms as of 9/1/11. Overall in the USA, firearms are prohibited in federal buildings (unless special permission is obtained) and airplanes.

Is every duty belt the same on each officer in the USA?

Not every department allow tasers; this is one example of how departments' equipment can vary. Each dept. decides which firearm its' officers will carry. Some key items on a duty belt are: flashlight, baton, ammunition magazines, firearm, police radio, handcuffs, etc. Disposable gloves are always a good idea, too.

Why does the passenger officer in shotgun seat say "clear" loudly when the squad car enters intersections?

Intersections are dangerous for any driver; add speed to them and they can be deadly. Not every department assigns two officers to a car due to budget constraints. It is a nice added bonus to have two officers to a car so back-up is built in without having to radio the request in and an added set of eyes for subject searches or clearing through intersections at high speeds.

What is the minimum age requirement to apply to a police department?

This can vary from each agency. It is usually a minimum of 21 years old by the time cadets graduate from the police academy. Graduation from the academy is usually 4.5 months but that can vary from one month to six months. Why 21? This has been the "adult" age for centuries, including being able to vote. FDR changed it to 18 for WWII. In 1971, it was lowered as the legal age to vote and in some states, the legal drinking age. In 1984, President Reagan made it 21 again to support MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

When a police chase is over, what do officers yell at the subjects as they sit in their vehicle?

The commands can include: Turn off your vehicle. Let me see your hands. Throw me your keys. Turn around. Get on the ground. Put your hands above your head. Back up slowly. Don't reach for anything. You are under arrest for (list reasons why/laws broken). Put your hands behind your back (handcuffs are put on). Do you understand your rights (after reading the Miranda rights to the subject)? etc.

Miranda Rights apply to which Amendment?

The Miranda Rights (Miranda vs. Arizona in 1966) were developed to protect the 5th Amendment for a suspect's right to refuse to answer questions to not self-incriminate. But the catch is the arrest has to be made first for the Miranda rights to be valid. The subjects' answers to any questions made before the Miranda rights have been read may be used in court if the officer has told the subject that it is voluntary and they can leave at any time.

Do COPS episodes show pat downs for every subject who is arrested and put into the back of squad cars?

This is beyond dangerous! If subjects aren't searched, they can wiggle a key out of their mouths or back pockets near their hands in cuffs and unlock cuffs to get a concealed weapon. Hands that are behind backs can suddenly move in front of flexible subjects if they bend well. Pat downs can mean the difference between life or death. Even if this is being cut for the time constraint of the show, it needs to be mentioned somewhere on the show as being performed.

What does the opening screen look like each time the show starts?

The flashing lights on the screen make the letters COPS, which adds to the mystique of the show. In one of the later episodes, the type showed lower left for the city and state, then the department, then the officer's name. COPS.com was in the right lower corner of the screen.

What is a police FTO?

This stage is still in the probation period after cadets have graduated from the police academy. Their employment can still be terminated within the probation period. They have to pass this FTO training on patrols to become a fully commissioned officers with that department. The Field Training is meant to teach the cadet the standards of that department and apply all that was learned in the academy. The FTO is the Field Training Officer assigned to them and often this officer rotates between several FTOs.

Do police officers need to learn phonetic alphabet for radio talk?

The phonetic alphabet includes these letters: A: Alpha, B: Bravo, C: Charlie, etc. It makes understanding officers and dispatch easier when they communicate the same way using the same code for license plates, driver's licenses, house addresses, street names, and subject names. Radio calls can get broken up and this makes it easier to understand one another on the radio.

Is military time used by police?

Many in law enforcement are from the military so this comes naturally. An example would be 1:00 pm is 1300 (thirteen hundred). 2400 is sometimes used but, more often, 0000 (zero hundred) is used for midnight. The way to say the night hours, for example, would be "zero one hundred" for 1:00 A.M.

Are there one or two police radios for officers?

Radios vary in numbers and types due to the position that the officer serves, such as a motorcycle officer, bike officer, horse officers, SWAT, detectives, and undercover.

In the show, do the subjects always comply/do as the officer asks?

Some subjects know they will serve more time if they are caught with illegal weapons and/or substances, so they run to have enough time to dump the items out of the vehicle or from their person. This is never a wise move as they add time to their sentences plus endanger themselves in chases. Some pull weapons on the officers out of desperation of facing jail time.

Where are most officers' name badges on their uniform?

The first name is abbreviated to one letter and the last name is spelled out.

The officers' badge is on which side?

For detectives, a chain around their necks or on belt loop as they need to conceal it while undercover.

What rights start with these: "You have the right to remain silent..."

Miranda Rights are also called Miranda Warning. The subject being read these rights is called "Being Mirandized." Miranda Warning/Rights are read when a subject is in custody and the officer is questioning him or her.

Are "10-4," "Copy" and "Roger That" police and military similar but not identical radio terms?

These are terms to acknowledge to the other person on a radio that you hear and understand the message they sent. Copy technically means that the receiver is writing it down, but most use it as the same as the other terms.

Why are spikes used in police pursuits?

To avoid a faster police pursuit that can endanger many lives, spikes can be utilized in addition to other methods.

During one episode of COPS, a patrol car hit the drunk driver's car for what purpose?

This is used to stop high speed chases so pedestrians aren't hit, officers aren't endangered traveling at high speeds, and other vehicles aren't struck. Some departments even prohibit pursuits.

Are all police vehicles the same?

Police squad vehicles range in size, color, manufacturer, model; there are many variants and some are unmarked.

If an officer sees a vehicle run a stop sign or sees a vehicle with one or both lights out on headlights or tail lights, can the vehicle be pulled over and questioned?

Warrants can be discovered by a driver's license being run after a traffic stop. Due to subjects not wanting to return to/go to jail/prison, traffic stops can be deadly for law enforcement. Desperate people can act in desperate ways.

Why do police taze subjects?

Tasers are a fairly new method to stop subjects from running away from police. Not all officers wear tasers. Using them requires special training. Some departments give officers the choice to have tasers used on them as a test to see what it feels like; most officers endure this before they pass their first year of field training.

Are there females on this show and are any on patrol as police officers?

Females are officers, lieutenants, sergeants, captains, detectives, deputy chiefs, chiefs; there are many roles in law enforcement for women.

Are dogs used in law enforcement?

K-9s save lives and catch fleeing subjects. They are deemed very valuable on police forces. K-9s are specially trained and wear police badges like human officers.

Why do SWAT teams use tanks, shields, batons, gas masks, etc.?

SWAT is a specialized and well-trained team that responds to extremely dangerous calls, such as hostages or active shooters. These teams need protection and equipment to move swiftly and efficiently to accomplish their goals.

Why do officers ask subjects to walk a straight line?

Walking a straight line when intoxicated is a difficult task to accomplish. This line test is also joined by a breath analyzer test (BAC), which reads the blood alcohol level.

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