Hey! Here's the deal. I will answer any and [hopefully] all questions you have about law enforcement in the United States. I am a police officer in Texas but I'd rather not specify where. I have to speak on condition of anonymity(that's why no badge, uniform upload) so that I may speak candidly and avoid the inevitable repercussions that would hit me after saying anything less than "desirable" about my profession. My goal as an officer has been to regain the trust and respect of the community at large, and I intend to do so here today

EDIT: I apologize folks, I tried to make it work yesterday but got super busy. Comments are unlocked and I'm here to answer!

Comments: 312 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

sailikespie9542 karma

How do you and other people feel about the scrutiny over police brutality recently? Does the force empathize with the "black lives matter" cause at all, or do they see it as "anti-cop"?

Throwbocop44125 karma

BLM and protesting in general is seen as Anti-Police to the majority of LEOs. On one hand, sometimes protesters and the public at large simply don't understand what it's like to walk in our shoes. HOWEVER, too many LEOs don't even care to call the kettle black. Brutality? " Oh, that was necessary force. That 55 year old woman was 'resisting' ". It's Us vs Them. A lot of cops believe that if you're not standing on our side of the Thin Blue Line, you are the enemy. Point blank.

Throwbocop44123 karma

Unfortunately BLM and other forms of protest are viewed as purely "anti-cop". There is still a strong us vs them mentality here.

Unkn0wn777777715 karma

Well where do you think that mentality came from?

Throwbocop441219 karma

Cops in the 70s and 80s had it rough. Policing was nowhere near as standardized as it is now. Outmanned, outgunned and undertrained, It truly was "Us vs Them". But that mentality carried over to my generation, where policing is far from safe, but nothing like the war zone it once was. So you have young men who want to belong, be a part of something powerful, to be feared, and that's why we have cops acting like suburban America is Afghanistan.

SomeOneNeedsAHug41 karma

Im confused, is op Throwbocop4412? or throwawayforLEOstuff? Someone seems to be answering all questions for OP......

Throwbocop441211 karma

Throwaway Leo is not part of this AMA and is not affiliated with me.

Throwbocop44129 karma

I'm not affiliated with throwawayforleostuff

TyalistheRave23 karma

Why is there such a huge difference in the way US cops act compared to British policemen? I have lived in both countries and find the attitude of US cops to be, on average, much worse than the British

Throwbocop44125 karma

Police culture. I do agree that American cops have to be tougher than most cops in other developed countries, but a lot of police officers have this macho man complex left over from the tough cops that patrolled the streets in the 70s through the 90s. Police officers in that era had to be tough because there was no other option. They were untrained, underequipped, and the crack epidemic tore apart inner cities. Nowadays, however, that "toughness" simply translates to arrogance and further divides us from the community. You'd be surprised how many cops view patience and compassion as weaknesses.

poopmeister199421 karma

What kind of education do you have and what do you get paid? Here in Canada our cops generally have university degrees and can easily make 80k at the rank of constable.

Throwbocop441212 karma

Education requirements are slowly increasing. In Texas, you need nothing beyond a High School Diploma to pass the Academy. As for getting a job, however, certain agencies/departments may require college hours or military experience.

SpartanOfThePast1 karma

Do you know if serving in the National Guard could help with the latter part?

Throwbocop44122 karma

Definitely. But if I'm not mistaken, agencies are beginning to move away from hiring military in favor of degree holders.

cazique11 karma

Hey, thanks for being a cop and for doing the ama!

  1. Do you have many family members who are also police officers?

  2. How do we reform the system so everyone feels comfortable talking to the police? No one really wants "bad hombres" on the streets, but no one wants their cousin to go to prison for smoking pot.

  3. Do you see the US (or at least your corner of it) as being safer now than it was 10 years ago?

  4. What are the most important advances in law enforcement of the last 10 years?

  5. What parts of police culture prevent positive change?

Thanks again, and have a merry christmas!

Throwbocop44124 karma

  1. Myself and one other individual

  2. Reform police culture. I would do away with this macho nonsense where cops feel like they have to be the biggest baddest motherfuckers on the planet.

  3. Most definitely. That's indisputable. For the record, I don't believe there's a war on police either. I signed up for this job knowing there are people who want to and will try to kill me just for putting on a uniform. that doesn't make it a war on cops. That's called Tuesday.

  4. Video and audio recording capabilities. Emphasis on de-escalation and communication.

  5. Better question, what parts of police culture promote positive change? The answer is none. Becoming a police officer is the best decision I've ever made in my entire life and I'm proud to wear this uniform. I am not proud to be associated with the other men and women who do. I am not proud of this overly macho culture of men and women who can't actually physically defend themselves as well as they should. There's so much emphasis on looking tough and being Mr. Fucking Texas Ranger, there's no room in police culture for courtesy, humility or professionalism.

Merry Christmas to you as Well!

Chandler_Bling11 karma

If a cop stops me, am I allowed to invite them out for coffee after I pay the fine?

Throwbocop44122 karma

Of course. It's not likely that the Officer will take you up on your offer, but it's a free country.

ic0n80511 karma

When I was 14, I was walking home and I walked in front of my local elementary school with 2 of my buddies and my girlfriend. Two cop cars entered the parking lot, approached us and the two officers got out of their car, pointed their guns at us and told us to get on the floor. One of my buddies didn't get on the floor and asked why while his hands were raised and they approached him and threw him on the floor. He ended up with a black eye and a huge scrape on his face that left a scar. We weren't told why we were being taken into police custody but we were handcuffed and taken to a holding cell at the police station. My girlfriend was taken to a different holding cell and I'm not sure how but they were able to reach her dad, who was a cop in another city, and he ended up getting all of us out. He told us that they had received a call that someone was vandalizing the school and they thought we were the culprits.

Was this the proper way to handle this?

Throwbocop44122 karma

Absolutely not. If what you're saying is true, that's reprehensible. You get a call about some kids vandalizing shit? Find them. Talk to them. Tell them to cut it out and leave the area. Police should not beat and berate children for the same fucking thing they were doing as teens.

AffeKonig7 karma

Assuming you know a good amount of police... What's the ratio of honest and fair, to cooked and unfair?

Throwbocop441217 karma

It's a melting pot. A better question is how many cops lack common sense and want to be hailed as heroes VS cops who want to serve the public. THAT'S where it gets messy. No doubt, this job is incredibly dangerous, but I've had it with this Call-of-Duty themed ThinBlueLine™ Nonsense from cops who WANT to feel like they're in a war zone. Those are the "cooked and unfair" cops who want to drop 3k on a patrol rifle but not a dime towards educational courses on de-escalation or effective communication.

Unkn0wn777777712 karma

Who do you think should push for that mentality change? Or better yet how could you?

What would you personally like to do? Are you in it for the rush? Or to be a bigger part of your community? Or was it just a steady pay check with benefits.

Throwbocop44127 karma

All of it. No bullshit. Anyone who tells you they didn't become a cop for the steady pay or adrenaline rush is lying. But more important to me is the impact I can make. The fact that I have the power to change lives or situations for the better(when possible). I think we should all push to change the current mentality, but that train hasn't even left the depot. If I said HALF the shit I've said in these comments to my fellow officers, I'd be on someone's shit-list, marked for dismissal on some bullshit policy violation that they can catch in the next few months.

IronedSandwich7 karma

what was the hardest part of the, what's the word, the tests you have to take to become one for you?

Throwbocop44123 karma

Staying awake. Not hard at all.

cdimock727 karma

What laws do you not agree with?

Throwbocop44123 karma

A lot, but if I had to specify, the drug war should end. Legalize marijuana. Decriminalize the more serious drugs and provide rehabilitation for addicts.

cdimock721 karma

Thanks. Do you think any of that will happen in the next ten years?

Throwbocop44122 karma

I believe one of three things will be legalized in the next ten years: gambling, prostitution or weed.

gorillaboy757 karma

  1. Do you believe that LEO's should have to pass a physical to be on patrol, SWAT, exercising warrants, etc?

  2. Do police trainees receive any training in not engaging suspects and taking things personally when a suspect is being a dumbass?

  3. Is there anything one can say to get out of a speeding ticket?

  4. I imagine there are situations that are extremely scary and unpredictable in your profession. How do you personally cope?

Throwbocop44128 karma

  1. Absolutely. On par with the military.

  2. I wouldn't call it training. We have a couple of days on de-escalation tactics and how to communicate affectively. But for someone who doesn't know or isn't willing to learn how to de-escalate the situation or communicate effectively, it's pretty much just liability insurance for the Academy.

  3. There's nothing you can say. If you have a legit medical or family emergency, I'm not gonna give you a ticket. Otherwise, I don't see any reason for people to be going in excess of 20 to 40 miles an hour over the limit, which is usually when I stop people.

  4. Somebody's got to do it. Growing up, my father dealt with everything that went bump in the night, providing me with a sense of security. I want to do the same for everyone else.

Azeal5 karma

Fellow Texan, curious what your take is on your community's attitude on the police is. I know that where I live people are generally more pro-cop than against and am wondering if it's a common thing here. Do you feel your community is supportive?

Throwbocop44122 karma

The portion of the community that is that has had relatively good experiences with law-enforcement tend to be supportive, and the portion of the community that has had bad experiences with law-enforcement tend to not be supportive of us. Do I feel my community is supportive? I do, but it's a false sense of comfort.

guruscotty5 karma

Have y'all had to deal with drones much? And are you ready for the fresh influx of drones post-Christmas?

Throwbocop44125 karma

I was working an accident once and just happened to look up and see a drone recording me from about 50 ft up in the air. As soon as I looked at it, drone backed away and disappeared behind some trees. It's a whole new world.

Joshsed115 karma

What does it feel like for people to be rude to people such as yourself or see similar either online or irl on incomplete opinions (I.e. People thinking all officers are racist and the like)?

Throwbocop44125 karma

Doesn't phase me anymore. Bothered me a lot when I first started, now I don't care because I know I'm out here doing the right thing.

cazique5 karma

Do you enforce laws you do not agree with?

Throwbocop44128 karma

It's a must, unfortunately. I have the option to not immediately take an individual into custody upon finding out that they have misdemeanor/traffic warrants. I hate putting someone in cuffs for an unpaid ticket, but in a lot of situations I end up having to for liability purposes.

Unkn0wn777777715 karma

What kind of liability issues?

Throwbocop44123 karma

If I pull you over and your license is suspended, I'm more than likely gonna cut you a break as long as you're trying to better yourself. No insurance? I'll do the same. Have a warrant for an unpaid ticket? Could've got lost in the mail. Or maybe you knew about it and simply don't have the funds. Now, if your license is suspended, you don't have insurance, you have a warrant for a traffic ticket you didn't pay, and I pulled you over because you were doing 30 miles an hour over the speed limit, then you're going to jail, your car is getting towed and I'm giving you more tickets. You're irresponsible, and if I let you go with a warning and you end up Killing or injuring somebody with your reckless driving, they're gonna want to know why the hell Officer Throwbocop4412 let you drive off. There goes my job and a nice fat lawsuit for my agency.

throwawayforLEOstuff6 karma

Yes. Talk to your legislator. I don't write the laws, and I'm not paid by the people of the state to enforce my own particular opinion.

Throwbocop44123 karma

Please refrain from answering questions on this AMA. I appreciate the help and I'm sure you're a cop, but I'm here on a mission. I was late to the party but Im here now.

ReyMaizel4 karma

Do you ever foreplay with your wife while wearing your uniform and kicking it off from there?

Chandler_Bling6 karma

Also, do you have to keep the handcuffs from work in a locker or can you take them home with you?

Throwbocop44121 karma

Take home everything except the car.

Throwbocop44122 karma

Oh hell yes. We are one step closer to buying a retired cop car so we can start the fantasy on a "traffic stop"... 😏

Zwiespalt964 karma

Did you ever have a case where you know that someone would go to jail for a looooong time although the commited crime was minor ?

Also what so you think about the development rate of US prisons compared with the development rate of your unis ?

Throwbocop44121 karma

Check forgery. She got five years, but I don't feel bad because she's done it multiple times and she stole blank checks from a poor man who was just trying to help her out.

Inversely proportional. US prisons are getting worse, and Unis are getting slowly but progressively better.

Animagical4 karma

How much oversight is there of the police board where you're from?

Admittedly I am from outside the United States but I have heard that the role of the police force can be "subcontracted" out to a sort of pseudo third-party police force. How involved is local and federal government in your operations? What is the hiring process like?

Thanks for doing the AMA

Throwbocop44121 karma

  1. More than people think. Honestly not as simple as "policeman investigates himself and finds no wrongdoing". I won't lie, more civilian oversight is definitely needed but those civilians need to be well qualified to do so.

  2. Third party police force? That's probably referring to the various constable offices we have that fulfill contracts with communities to provide security for them.

  3. Local/Federal? It really depends on what we're doing.

  4. The hiring process is pretty intensive. They do an extensive background check, double check the claims you made on your application, they'll even check your application against other applications you've submitted to other police agencies to see if there were any inconsistencies.

binx854 karma

To what degree do you feel like the Police Unions enable and/or encourage the continuation of tensions between officers and civilians?

Throwbocop44123 karma

I'm not a member of a police union, so I'm not best suited to answer that question.

Lucky_Dulon4 karma

I understand your position on police brutality. I can't imagine having to place more importance on a stranger's life, than your own. Self preservation is just human nature.

However, why don't cops shoot suspected criminals(or criminals) in the leg, or some place other than the chest? Even if the assailant is armed, the shock from being shot multiple times in any part of the body should be enough to disarm them, right? I would try to apprehend someone using the window provided by their shock and pain from being shot. Does that not seem like a better option than firing multiple rounds into a person's chest?

Throwbocop44123 karma

The simplest answer to this question is, that shooting "center mass" is the most effective way of stopping a deadly threat, but unfortunately, it'll probably end up killing the threat too. If someone is presenting such a great danger to your life or someone else's that you feel like you have to use your gun, it is not wise at all to shoot for extremities or fire warning shots. The human body is incredibly resilient. I won't deny that it is possible to incapacitate someone by shooting them in the arms or legs, and that shooting someone in center mass MIGHT not always stop them as effectively as it should(adrenaline, drug use, sheer will to fight), but you can't operate on a case-by-case basis in that regard. You have to go with what works. There's also the chance that by shooting someone in the arm, it could pass through and inadvertently kill an innocent person, whereas if you would've shot him in the chest it would've simply stopped him and not hurt anybody else. When it comes down to it, there's just too much liability and too much risk to your own life to screw around and go for the arms and legs. Center mass is a necessary evil.

martamon4 karma

do you see yourself as protector of the people or protector of the state?

Throwbocop44121 karma

Always the people.

CognitiveDissident74 karma

If you've ever arrested someone for a victimless "crime," did it bother you?

Throwbocop44123 karma

If you're referring to drugs, I don't arrest for weed. Never have never will. The only exception being if you are trafficking a massive amount of fucking weed or if I suspected you were up to some sinister shit and the weed was just the tip of the iceberg. But simply Possession, Paraphernalia, or Residue? Nah. Waste of time and it's an injustice.

johnnysexcrime3 karma

How many people have you killed?

Throwbocop44122 karma

None. Hope I never will.

z3r0n33 karma

I'm not sure if you're highway patrol or an officer who sees much roadtime, but I'll ask anyways. What priority are misaligned headlights / highbeams / aftermarket headlights that are improperly installed? I also live in Texas, and I dislike driving after dusk due to not being able to see the road in front of me due to these aftermarket lights / high-beams behind me.

Do you pull people over when you see these? I believe it can't be legal to drive around in the city on lighted roads with your high-beams on, but do you know if this is enforced at all?

Thanks for keeping Texas safe!

Throwbocop44123 karma

That question would be better suited for a State Trooper, but I would pull somebody over if their headlights were a safety issue. If you've got some aftermarket ungodly bright BLUE HID headlights blinding people on the road, I'll stop you.

wkapp9773 karma

When you see a random person in every day situation, do you call him "suspect" in your head?

Throwbocop44121 karma

Haha no. If he's acting funny I might try to figure out what his deal is, but no name-calling in my head.

Tzchmo3 karma

OP not responding? Or using a different alias?

Throwbocop44122 karma

I apologize, I am not using a different alias. I was late to my own AMA and another unverified individual who may or may not be a police officer was answering the comments.

snowycub3 karma

Firstly, thank you for risking you life everyday to make us safe and enforce the laws that keep our civilization together.

My question is this: What are the particular challenges of Law Enforcement in Texas that you don't think officers in other places face?

Throwbocop44122 karma

Drug trafficking. Human trafficking. They're both problems worldwide, but in Texas, I always have to remember to look for the signs of trouble.

Ten_Godzillas2 karma

Do you have any favorite stories you'd like to share?

Throwbocop44121 karma

Soooo many. Gimme a topic.

truthaboutcs2 karma

What do you think about the movie Predator?

Throwbocop44121 karma

It's been so long since I've seen it. I'll get back to after I have myself a little 80's/90's movie marathon.

iphonethrow992 karma

I'm driving across the country, east coast to west coast, in a couple of days. Should I avoid your state?

Throwbocop44122 karma

Not unless you've got a dead body or 1/2 ton of coke in the glove box.

iphonethrow991 karma

Nothing like that, unfortunately. Really more to do with getting pulled over for having a New England/out of state plate.

Throwbocop44121 karma

You'll probably turn a few heads, but I wouldn't give you a second look unless you looked sketchy.

joshuabeebe2 karma

First, sorry, because I see a lot of posts suggesting racial bias among Police. I'm of the mind that most aren't. Have you ever come across a colleague who was an overt racist? If so, are there any avenues you have for dealing with the issue that doesn't endanger your job and/or reputation.

Throwbocop44121 karma

Overt racists are few and far between. The couple of times I've come across overt racists, I didn't have to do anything. They got themselves fired through the sheer stupidity of their actions. COVERT racism however, is a huge problem.

joshuabeebe1 karma

Are there any avenues you have to that don't endanger your job or reputation?

Throwbocop44121 karma

Absolutely. If I want to out an overt racist, I'll make sure to "back him up" on every call, so my shits recording him in case he's not. Encourage people he's discriminated against to pursue cases against him. Anonymously tip off IA to look into him. Etc

suddenly_ponies2 karma

Merry Christmas officer. My question is whether you think it will ever be possible for the public to trust police in general if there isn't public accountability for each instance of abuse anywhere else in the country. What I mean to say is that I believe that there is community accountability for police so if one person seems to get away with abuse then all police look guilty and the public outrage only grows greater. do you think that's true and whether it is or not what do you think is the best way of dealing with the problem

Throwbocop44121 karma

Merry Christmas to you as well. I think the biggest problem here is the word abuse. Agencies aren't willing to admit "brutality" when their officers are being heavy-handed, but at the same time the public needs to understand that not every act of physical aggression committed by police is simply abuse. I think it will be possible for the public to trust police again, but we both need to come to an agreement here.

Dotlinefever2 karma

Who makes the best donuts?

Throwbocop44122 karma

Whoever' so giving em to me for free. 😂

Dixieduffy2 karma

Do you guys have the new NARC cans? How are they? Edit: Have you run into any of those "Free Inhabitant" freaks? How did that go?

Throwbocop44121 karma

Negative on the NARC cans, but I'm curious to see how they work. I've run into a couple of those idiots who were just starting their new Soverign Citizenship. There's no reasoning with someone who is invested in that bullshit!

emlombardo2 karma

Thanks for doing what you do! Do you feel that the authority granted to you by the state to do your job justifies public scrutiny for how you use that authority?

Throwbocop44122 karma

Of course. Granted, the public will not always understand why I use my authority in certain situations the way that I do, but what I do can change a persons life for the better or for the worse. if I can't handle a little scrutiny then I shouldn't be in this profession.

YesNoDontKnow1 karma

Hey, buddy! A friend of mine is also a cop. Each year he gives me a police officers benevolent association card. As he's moved up in the ranks, now it's a detective's benevolent association card.

I appreciate the gesture and we both jokingly call it my "get out of jail free card."

As a professional courtesy, does having one of these really help in awkward situations?

throwawayforLEOstuff3 karma

I've never had somebody use a card. I'm asking to see your driver's license and insurance. If you hand me a policeman's benevolent association card as well, it's gonna seem like a shameless ploy to guilt me into taking a particular enforcement action, which is not appreciated.

redglobmoon1 karma

lol. while not appreciated, it will still be recognized and the cop will be let go to speed, or drive recklessly or drunk.

Throwbocop44121 karma

There's no card that'll get you out of driving drunk or recklessly with me. I don't care if you're a cop: If I catch you doing 110+, or driving piss drunk on a public roadway you're going to jail.

Throwbocop44121 karma

Doesn't mean anything to me. I'm not very lenient with friends or family of law enforcement(unless the cop is in the car with them), I tell my friends and family not to expect special treatment either.

street_logos1 karma

How do you think guns affect American policing vs foreign countries where guns are not publicly legal?

Throwbocop44121 karma

Knowing someone could have a gun puts American police more on edge than in places where guns are not publicly legal. It also brings a lot of the wrong type of people to this job who simply want to walk around with a gun strapped to their hip.

2wheeljunkie1 karma

Do you view Tasers as compliance tools?

Throwbocop44121 karma

It is a compliance tool, but I do NOT agree with how frequently and carelessly it is used. You should not tase an elderly man or otherwise feeble member of society.

mysticrust1 karma

Will strict gun laws make your job easier?

Throwbocop44121 karma

Nope. Ending the drug war would.

firenoodles1 karma

If you see something illegal when off duty, are you allowed to address the illegal activity? Are you able to make arrests off duty?

Is the Academy really difficult? Are there annual physical requirements? If so, why are there so many overweight cops?

throwawayforLEOstuff3 karma


firenoodles1 karma

Thanks for answering!

Throwbocop44121 karma

ThrowawayforLEOstuff is not me. Not affiliated with me at all.

Throwbocop44121 karma

I am allowed to intervene in just about everything except making a traffic stop for a traffic violation. We are advised by more experienced officers to never intervene unless someone's life is in danger, because of the liability. But I will at least do my best to get identifying information and license plates for anything that happens regardless of whether someone's life is in danger.

The Academy is not difficult at all. The reason why you see so many fat cops because we are not required to maintain ourselves outside of the Academy. So what happens when you take a guy who stopped exercising, starts eating free junk food every day while driving around in a patrol car for hours at a time?

vippuka1 karma

Ever had to discharge your firearm?

Throwbocop44122 karma

Besides the shooting range? Thankfully not.


When you run our licence and registration what info can you see about us?

Throwbocop44122 karma

Besides your name, address and date of birth which is already on your physical license anyway, we can see a basic history of your traffic record. We don't get access to your entire criminal history right there on the computer, for that we would have to go to 911 dispatch and request it. But I wouldn't waste time requesting someone's full history unless I arrested them and needed that information for relevant purposes.

yerrupalualu1 karma

How long does it take to make detective if one was so inclined? Is there a route to homicide detective that doesn't require years of being an officer?

Throwbocop44121 karma

Depends, but I doubt there is a route to homicide that doesn't require years of being an officer. If there is one, I wouldn't take it. I wouldn't take any shortcut to any position in law enforcement where the prerequisite is patrol experience. Regardless of your background, the knowledge and experience you gain as a patrol officer is an invaluable asset for whatever you choose to do later.