Thursday, June 22, 2006


We've all got stereotypes about cops, right? You know, arrogant, insensitive, aggressive, elitist control freaks. I've been lumped into this category since joining the police force last year but don't agree that's a fair assessment. What I've learned from the inside is cops are pretty ordinary. They do, however, seem to exhibit a peculiar stereotype of materialism. By this, I mean the obsessive desire to own motorcycles, guns, ATV's, trucks and truck accessories.

The problem is: the average cop doesn't make much money. This leads to an endless cycle of buying expensive toys and then selling them in order to buy other expensive toys. Take a look at this picture I took of the 'for sale' bulletin board in the breakroom of my precinct (click on it to enlarge). Do you see a pattern here? This is just one corner of the board shot close-up to see the pictures but there are many more motorcycles for sale. We have numerous and generous opportunities for overtime that allow the average patrolman to make extra money. This only adds to the cylce, though, as those in debt are forced to work off-duty jobs on their days off. The coveted three-day weekend is sacrificed chasing the almighty dollar.

I've only seen one mini-van parked at the police station: mine. The parking lot contains about 90% trucks, 5% motorcycles, 4% cars, and my minivan. I've been asked several times by other cops, "How many kids do you HAVE?" (in a tone that says, "there's no way you'd be driving that thing unless you had at least six kids). I then find myself explaining the benefits and features of minivans like a salesman at the car dealership.

I'm proud to say I'm not one of the materialistic cops. In fact, I'm almost the opposite. I gave up a much higher paying job (and the materialism it afforded) for the non-monetary rewards of a career in public service.


At June 24, 2006 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You became a police officer for all the right reasons and should be proud of it.


At June 28, 2006 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Army was the same way. You could get a lot of stuff lightly used for half price. Paid on Firday, broke on Monday. Howie

At June 30, 2006 3:18 PM, Blogger andrea said...

wow...might not be materialistic...but the ego sure does seem to fit the bill!

Just kidding Gary...we're proud to know you're out there keeping the streets safe!

At July 21, 2006 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting site. Useful information. Bookmarked.

At July 27, 2009 3:32 PM, Anonymous Street Cop said...

Yeah, humans recognise patterns alright, and stereotypes happen for a reason.
Just because you are the exception doesn't mean that a buncha brother cops aren't out there sullying the water for the rest of us. Each patrol officer that goes out looking more and more like shock troops, and GI Joe Marine makes the public trust us less, and fear us more. And then we complain when they don't like us.
Don't like what you're getting? Start changing what you're doing.
"It's all of them, I'm not like that!" isn't gonna be real effective either...


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