Behind the Badge: 30 Fascinating Facts about Police Officers

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1Australian cops

Australian cops

Australia's first cops were all criminals. Their first police force was made up of 12 of the best-behaved convicts.

2. San Diego County Inspectors, through the use of 'Secret Shoppers', found that Target overcharges customers on 10.3% of the items they ring up; Brookstone: 10.6%; Sears: 15.7%.

3. In 1988, a retired police officer found Cyril Smith, British MP with 144 accusations of child molestation and abuse, in a home with a sex offender and two drunk teenage boys. The officer was threatened to be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act by the UK government. Nothing happened.

4. New York police officers used to carry an 11-inch club during the day, and a 26-inch club at night when things were more dangerous. This is the origin of the term nightstick.

5. Thai cops that break the rules are punished by having to wear pink Hello Kitty armbands while not being allowed to disclose what they've done to "earn" it, leaving their offense to the imagination.

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6Hiroshima policeman

Hiroshima policeman

A Hiroshima policeman went to Nagasaki to teach other police officers to duck and cover in the days between the bombings. Not a single officer died in the Nagasaki blast.

7. An LA homicide detective named Steve Hodel believes his deceased father killed the Black Dahlia, after finding a picture of him with Elizabeth Short. He later discovered his father had been one of the prime suspects at the time of the murder.

8. After Swiss police accused Libyan leader Gaddafi's family of criminal activity in Switzerland, Gaddafi submitted a proposal to the U.N to abolish Switzerland and divide it between France, Germany, and Italy.

9. A police detective named Robert Cunningham offered to split a lottery ticket with a waitress named Phyllis Penzo at his favorite restaurant in Yonkers, NY in place of a tip. The ticket was a winner worth $6 million, which he split with her without hesitation. The event was made into a movie, “It Could Happen to You.”

10. In 2005, a Kentucky sheriff deputy named Andy McDowell had 2 sons die in separate car accidents on the same night. He drove by the second crash after leaving the first one not knowing he had another son in the second crash.

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11Shannon McCoole

Shannon McCoole

Australian police were able to indict a suspected ringleader named Shannon McCoole of a child porn site by matching a freckle on his finger with one in images of child abuse.

12. In 2004, French police discovered an underground cinema that had been built in secret beneath the Paris catacombs. When they returned to it three days later, they found a note reading “Do not try to find us.”

13. Cops arrested a 99-year-old woman named Annie so she could cross it off her bucket list.

14. An NYPD ex-cop named Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded corrupt activities for 17 months in 2008, leading to a huge scandal and 4 separate investigations into NYPD. He recorded illegal arrests, superiors giving illegal orders, multiple rape reports getting downgraded to trespassing and more.

15. The movie Starsky & Hutch(2004) was based on two real-life NYC cops, Lou Telano and John Sepe, who went undercover as Hasidic Jews, gay lovers, and female nurses in the 1960s and 1970s.

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16US police detectives

US police detectives

US police detectives have worn suits for more than 100 years. Dressing formally is "psychological armor"; it "establishes a barrier between them and the messiness" of police work, says a psychologist.

17. In 2011, Lee County, Alabama sheriff's office told people who had fallen behind on child support that they had won tickets to the Alabama/Auburn football game. They then arrested the offenders when they came to collect their free tickets.

18. When an English police officer named PC Adam Koch was stabbed he remarked "A scene from the film Hot Fuzz kept rolling through my mind. It was where policeman Simon Pegg gets stabbed and he says 'It's the most painful thing I've ever experienced.'- It literally is the most painful thing I've ever experienced."

19. After a police officer named Jed Blair reported his fellow cops for planting evidence, his colleagues “allegedly stole his equipment, interfered with his radio calls, threatened to kill him and his family, and scrawled the word ‘rat’ on his locker.”

20. Some Canadian police departments give out 'positive tickets' to thank people for doing something good.

21Miami Police Department

Miami Police Department

Miami Police Department uses fixed microphones throughout the city and special software to automatically pick up any gunshots and triangulate their origin to a couple of meters accuracy. This technology allows them to immediately dispatch officers there.

22. When cops pull you over, they first approach your driver's side tail light or trunk to leave their “mark” with their fingerprints, just in case something goes bad for them.

23. Elvis Presley was an official captain of the Memphis Police Department and even had dashboard police lights for his cars. He was known for pulling people over and lecturing them on safety before giving them an autograph and letting them go.

24. Police almost arrested Gary Ridgway, the Green River killer, years earlier, in 1983. A boyfriend of a victim had seen her get into his truck before she vanished. The next day, he went with her father and found it; it belonged to Ridgeway. The tip wasn’t enough to get police to arrest him.

25. In 1981, law enforcement swept in to stop a band of Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, weapons smugglers, and mercenaries- all armed to the teeth- from invading Dominica and establishing a private state complete with casinos and drug manufacturing facilities.

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