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More cop show myths put to the test

Being a police officer may not be as flashy as TV, but can be more exciting, terrifying

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Posted: Monday, December 14, 2009 12:00 am

My son and I were watching an episode of the old cop show "Adam-12" the other night. I had to laugh when I saw Reed and Malloy carrying a shotgun and little blue gym bags the size of a foot long sandwich to their patrol car after briefing. Gym bags with zippers.

Nowadays officers lug equipment bags bigger than some of them. They have assault rifles and shotguns containing bean bag rounds in their cars. Tasers, digital cameras, and cell phones are issued to them at the beginning of their shifts. The computers in their cars allow them to do reports, conduct research, find their way to a location, and access law enforcement-related Web sites on the Internet.

Reed and Malloy only had a couple of report forms between the two of them. They didn't even have portable radios.

It all leads me to the next edition of cop show myths.

— Somehow sliding across the hood of a police car is quicker than simply running around to the driver's side, opening the door and getting in. In real life, the offending officer would have to fill out a memo explaining the large scrape on the hood of his car. He or she would also have to deal with the embarrassment of their expensive uniform pants melting when they generated about a thousand degrees Fahrenheit during the slide across the hood.

— Contacts with informants usually involve calling the guy by his street name (Huggy, Izzy, or Oso), getting close enough to make the snitch visibly uncomfortable, and having him nervously look side-to-side a couple of times to make sure no one saw him talking with the cops. He usually gives you more information each time you give him another $5 bill. Wrong. Actually, contacts with informants are controlled and documented. Rarely do they meet with the police in public. And $5 won't get you a whole lot of information in 2009.

— Officers' guns are unloaded until it comes time to deal with a situation. Then they get out of their car, rack a round into their handgun, and run off after the suspect. Or better yet, they wait until they are up to the front door of the guy's house, loudly rack the round, then quietly sneak into the house. Incorrect. Officers' handguns are always loaded. It's safer and saves time.

— Stakeouts (watching the bad guy's house) always involve high tech equipment like fancy computers, long range telephoto lenses, thermal imaging, voice analyzers and a cop tossing coffee in a white Styrofoam cup out the window the minute they see the suspect. Untrue. Stakeouts, or surveillances as we call them, are actually boring, time-consuming endeavors spent in an old van where you are usually too cold or too hot and you want to sleep or go to the bathroom. The only high-tech equipment you have is your cell phone which you constantly check to see how much time has transpired since the last time you checked the phone. All kidding aside, surveillances often pay great dividends, and we've caught a lot of people over the years because of them.

— T.J. Hooker's hair did not distract viewers from the fact he was taking care of business. False. His toupee was scary. The post-"Star Trek" years had been a challenge to Captain Kirk. His decision to play Sgt. Thomas Jefferson Hooker of LCPD, Academy precinct, required the use of something akin to a squirrel on his head. Rumor has it the role was loosely based on a retired Lodi P.D. lieutenant with a big head of hair who started this column many moons ago.

Any comments, questions or advice for Behind the Badge can be e-mailed to Jeanie Biskup at jbiskup@pd.lodi.gov; mailed to Lodi Police Department, 215 W. Elm St., Lodi, CA 95240; or asked by phone at 333-6864.

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Welcome to the discussion.

32 comments:

  • posted at 1:18 pm on Mon, Dec 21, 2009.

    Posts:

    Why thank you kind sir. :-)

     
  • posted at 8:24 pm on Sun, Dec 20, 2009.

    Posts:

    ordinarycitizen: I agree. Great stuff, Officer Piombo. Keep up the great work. And Lodian is the bomb! I sure like reading your blogs. You go, Lodian!

     
  • posted at 11:36 am on Sun, Dec 20, 2009.

    Posts:

    I think Brian and Lodian need to go to time out. Lodian threw the bait out there, and Brian fell for it hook, line and sinker. Good grief. It's so utterly ridiculous to go back and forth over something so trivial as 'cops' or officers. There is a show called "Cops" - Please stop the madness. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this very well written article. The 'cops' I have met usually are serious, because they are doing serious work. So, seeing that this 'cop' has a sense of humor and a sharp wit is rather refreshing. I will look forward to reading more articles by Officer Piombo. And I liked Rhodie's definition of 'cop, copper'. I did not know that. I remember watching old 1930 gangster movies 'all right copper, you will never take me alive.'

     
  • posted at 6:23 pm on Fri, Dec 18, 2009.

    Posts:

    Brian wrote "It seemed fitting at the time to put Lodian in her place."Brian: Your judgement is often way off, and to a very disturbing level, but it is never "fitting" to attack, cuss someone out and personally threaten them on this LNS message board.

     
  • posted at 4:42 pm on Fri, Dec 18, 2009.

    Posts:

    Brian-Lodian is a dude you moron.Boy we sure can tell you couldn't make it as a cop with those Detective skills. It's no wonder you worship the ground they walk on, you're stuck in some hero worship twilight zone. You've been watching to many reruns of CHiPs.

     
  • posted at 9:43 am on Fri, Dec 18, 2009.

    Posts:

    Lodian wrote on Dec 16, 2009 11:12 PM:" lodibill: Brian considers the word COP to be derogatory, but he's totally okay with calling a woman the "B" word (and way worse), cussing me out and personally threatening to come to Lodi (from his home in Arizona) to straighten out us bloggers and take us to task. Ya, this guy is no class act so we have to consider the source here with Brian. "-It seemed fitting at the time to put Lodian in her place. It never seems fitting to me to call a police officer a Cop. Unless you're into disrespecting our law enforcement officers.

     
  • posted at 8:17 am on Fri, Dec 18, 2009.

    Posts:

    ...says the guy that never focuses on the issues.

     
  • posted at 3:39 pm on Thu, Dec 17, 2009.

    Posts:

    Lodian: I read your blogs. Maybe a good pumped up zap with a tazer would help you focus on the issues.

     
  • posted at 8:15 am on Thu, Dec 17, 2009.

    Posts:

    I have it in good confidence that Huggybear has in fact revealed to the LPD that Lt. Grenko has never , in actuality, wore a live squirrel upon his head... a freshly run over one though cannot be substaniated at this point in time..Check next weeks column for further updates on this vital topic!

     
  • posted at 1:53 am on Thu, Dec 17, 2009.

    Posts:

    Lodian's reaching out again.

     
  • posted at 5:12 pm on Wed, Dec 16, 2009.

    Posts:

    lodibill: Brian considers the word COP to be derogatory, but he's totally okay with calling a woman the "B" word (and way worse), cussing me out and personally threatening to come to Lodi (from his home in Arizona) to straighten out us bloggers and take us to task. Ya, this guy is no class act so we have to consider the source here with Brian.

     
  • posted at 4:23 am on Wed, Dec 16, 2009.

    Posts:

    Brian wrote "...he does carry a taser which he wouldn't hesitate to use on me."Your brother has the right idea with the taser.

     
  • posted at 4:21 am on Wed, Dec 16, 2009.

    Posts:

    Brian wrote "There was a time when the police did not kiss the buts of people who use the term cops in a derogatory manner."Brian: Why do you think COPS is a derogatory term? And don't give me some copy and paste answer from some dug up website. If you are so incredibly offended by the word then there must be some real answer from YOU. Can you answer all on your own with your own opinion and not some regurgitated response from someone else? Try.

     
  • posted at 3:54 am on Wed, Dec 16, 2009.

    Posts:

    You're just an idiot Brian. In the face of all this evidence multiple people have shown you and yet you still believe you're right? That my friend is the definition of idiot.COP COP COP COP COP COP COP COP COP

     
  • posted at 3:43 am on Wed, Dec 16, 2009.

    Posts:

    http://ask.yahoo.com/20000315.html"Around the year 1700, the slang verb cop entered English usage, meaning "to get ahold of, catch, capture." By 1844, cop showed up in print, and soon thereafter the -er suffix was added, and a policeman became a copper, one who cops or catches and arrests criminals. Copper first appeared in print in 1846, the use of cop as a short form copper occured in 1859."I do remember my brother, on many occasions as we ran around our home town calling out "I smell bacon!" as a cop enetered into view (in referancde to them being "pigs"). Now, twenty years later he is a cop(per). On hot days I'll occasionally remind him of his youth. But only occasionally, he does carry a taser which he wouldn't hesitate to use on me.

     
  • posted at 2:02 am on Wed, Dec 16, 2009.

    Posts:

    lodibill wrote on Dec 15, 2009 8:39 AM:" Brian-Jeez dude, do you need an anvil to fall on your head? You're wrong, let it go.The man who wrote this colum is a COP who refers to himself as a COP. Move on and lighten up.-There was a time when the police did not kiss the buts of people who use the term cops in a derogatory manner. Making the term cops mainstream when they know damn well it's still used mostly by those who have no respect forpolice officers is not something I would call very smart.

     
  • posted at 1:54 am on Wed, Dec 16, 2009.

    Posts:

    Lodian wrote on Dec 15, 2009 8:49 AM:" Brian: Your analogy is ridiculous. The word "gay" is not offensive either. It is quite alright for you to refer to yourself as "gay" whenever you like... no one will question it. "-You just don't get it do you? You've never had anybody look at you funny becauseyou said you were in a gay mood?

     
  • posted at 1:24 am on Wed, Dec 16, 2009.

    Posts:

    Funny stuff! Keep your good humor and I am always happy to buy you guys breakfast (usually only coffee) on Sundays.

     
  • Rich Hanner posted at 2:40 pm on Tue, Dec 15, 2009.

    Richard Hanner Posts: 10 Staff

    From Editor Rich Hanner: I'd just like to say this is among the best-written and funniest Behind the Badges we've published. Thank you, Chris.

     
  • posted at 6:18 am on Tue, Dec 15, 2009.

    Posts:

    The News-Sentinel can save ink by not printing comics... I find more outlandish and sometimes moronic humor in these blogs than I've ever read in a Sunday comic page. Brian... you're killing me. Rhodie... I like the way you think, and that scares me. Might we apply the same method to anyone found tagging. Seeing a few kids/young adults with a mangled finger might prove to be more of a deterrent than anything else that's been tried.

     
  • posted at 2:48 am on Tue, Dec 15, 2009.

    Posts:

    Brian: Your analogy is ridiculous. The word "gay" is not offensive either. It is quite alright for you to refer to yourself as "gay" whenever you like... no one will question it.

     
  • posted at 2:39 am on Tue, Dec 15, 2009.

    Posts:

    Brian-Jeez dude, do you need an anvil to fall on your head? You're wrong, let it go.The man who wrote this colum is a COP who refers to himself as a COP. Move on and lighten up.Remember the sceen in "Good Morning Vietnam" when Robin Williams says about the Sargent guy, "I've never met a man in more dire need of a ...."? That's you Brian. Go get one and relax.

     
  • posted at 1:48 am on Tue, Dec 15, 2009.

    Posts:

    Lodian,Many of your homosexaul friends probably refer to themselves as gay.But that doesn't keep me and many others from pointing out how the wordgay (it means happy) has been highjacked by them and we can no longer use it to describe how happy we are.

     
  • posted at 1:43 am on Tue, Dec 15, 2009.

    Posts:

    Lodian,I and many others prefer to referto our law enforcement officers with a more respectful name that doesn't have any negative connotations. Suit yourself.

     
  • posted at 1:39 am on Tue, Dec 15, 2009.

    Posts:

    Lodian wrote on Dec 14, 2009 4:05 PM:" Brian: Lt. Piombo ("Behind the Badge")used the word "COPS" in this column. Obviously he doesn't see the word as disrespectful. I think I'll follow his lead. Simply, you are wrong, Brian. "-It is the underlying belief amongst many people that the term COP is used in a disrespecttful and offensive mannerfar more often than almost any other label attached to law enforcement officers. PIG is still #1. The name pig and cop by generally are not offensive.It's the manner in which they are used.

     
  • posted at 11:36 am on Mon, Dec 14, 2009.

    Posts:

    dogs4you wrote " t jeff, some of what you say is true, however if I call 911 at 2AM to report someone is breaking into my house, I`ll get a cop in a matter of minutes rather that someone from Parks and Rec"If I catch someone breaking into my home at 2am and I call 911, then I'm calling them back at 2:05 and telling them the problems been dealt with, their choice to come out. They could just patrol the area and look for anyone with a multitude of b-bat wounds.

     
  • posted at 10:11 am on Mon, Dec 14, 2009.

    Posts:

    Any description, allusion, or comparison to any actual human being is strictly circumstantial. Well....was the squirrel alive or dead? Very entertaining and informing article. Keep up the great work!!

     
  • posted at 10:05 am on Mon, Dec 14, 2009.

    Posts:

    Brian: Lt. Piombo ("Behind the Badge")used the word "COPS" in this column. Obviously he doesn't see the word as disrespectful. I think I'll follow his lead. Simply, you are wrong, Brian.

     
  • posted at 6:15 am on Mon, Dec 14, 2009.

    Posts:

    dog,don't disagree with you, but that is a construct of the last 100 years. "Law enforcement" as it exists today is a modern experiment. In my view it is a huge failure because it has removed the citizens responsibility to take care of themselves. Next is bondage...

     
  • posted at 5:31 am on Mon, Dec 14, 2009.

    Posts:

    t jeff, some of what you say is true, however if I call 911 at 2AM to report someone is breaking into my house, I`ll get a cop in a matter of minutes rather that someone from Parks and Rec. Many states are allowing the common citizen to carry firearms, though I doubt it will happen in the liberal state of confusion called Kalifornia.

     
  • posted at 4:05 am on Mon, Dec 14, 2009.

    Posts:

    Come on Chris,Why not let the cops become a paramilitary unit that is above the law. Hmmm oh yea they need full autos, tanks, rockets launchers, heck they should have air support. This has reached the level of ridiculousness.Being a cops is no more dangerous that being a truck driver. Cops don't have to risk their lives over anything. See GC 845 and multiple SC cases. What should happen is that this state should go "Shall issue" and allow people to defend themselves, but on no that take the power away from the cops. What a joke, gotta love that 3% at 50 pension.Keep up the myths they are great when it comes to union negotiating time....

     
  • posted at 11:38 pm on Sun, Dec 13, 2009.

    Posts:

    LT Piombo-Yes today's Ofc's have access to all sorts of equipment, some of it very useful. But at what point is it equipment overload? In other words, do the run of the mill Ofc's really know how to use it all. Please don't give me the run of the mill blurb about training bla bla bla...My question relates to this; have we overburdened our Ofc's with equipment they don't need and further, arn't really prepared to use? Such as the M4 you carry. Do we need the over penatration the 5.56 provides? Can most Ofc's keep their shots in the x-ring at 100 yds? Do they understand whats the difference between cover and concealment is? You kid Old School myths about a shotgun, but what happens the first time one of your Ofc's miss (which they will) with the M4? Are you prepared for the results of it traveling upwards of a mile and coming down lord knows where?I hope.

     

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