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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Are Cops More Prone to be Suspicious?

Ana  thank-you  for allowing me to use your question as a blog.

Ana said...

Question: A new member of my veggie CSA is a city cop. Before I knew he was a cop, he questioned and doubted every "promise" we made for his season of veggies. He lied to get more convenient (for him) delivery arrangements. I felt bullied. Now that we've had many weeks of contact, he's mellowed--and paid in full-- and I'm no longer thinking I should tell him to take a hike.

Are cops more prone to be suspicious?

Yes, most cops are extremely suspicious. Remember who they deal with day-to-day. Just like Firemen who run into burning buildings when every other sane person is running out, cops are paid to approach and question people's actions. A cop’s suspiciousness can be fueled by training & experience, gut reaction, visual cues or fear.

 Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) arrest  bad people – both the public and they hold themselves to a higher standard. When questioning a victim of any type of fraud or scam, it’s easy to forget the general public experiences – for the most part – the more positive aspects of society. Where the public sees a golden opportunity a cop is looking for ‘the catch.’ Quietly and amongst themselves police often question how the victim fell for the , obvious to them, scam.  One of the many reasons fueling: The Us vs Them mentality, but that’s the subject of another blog.

If you think people with law enforcement background are suspicious when ‘on the job’ that wary nature is double when they are spending their own hard earned money. The last thing a LEO wants is to be teased for having been ripped off. 

When investing or entering into a business deal most cops investigate the company like they would a criminal organization. What type of group is it? Large or small? New organization? Well Established?  How do they advertise? Word of mouth? Commercial Advertisements? And most importantly what is being promised.

Depending on the answers to the above questions a cop might worry that once he paid he might not receive his product.

The type of cop also factors into how paranoid or suspicious an officer might react. Are they a city cop? Large or small department? Patrol, Narcotics, Homicide or Sex Crimes?

Did you know, narcotics officers from the time they are baby narclings are taught to never ever Never Ever EVER ‘front their money’ (loosely translated: never give up your money until you have product in hand)?  Yes, that phrase was targeted toward narcotics transactions. BUT, in my experience Narcotics officers hate to front their money – for anything.

Homicide cops investigate crimes where people are murdered over a pair of shoes. If a life is worth less than $150.00, what do you think someone would do for several hundred? Several thousand?  

Police are even more suspicious of what they consider something too good to be true. One thing a cop would hate more than just about anything is being labeled a victim.  When a LEO questions and doubts everything said, my guess would be the proposition seems too good to be true.  (Ana in your case I would take that as a compliment about your product and prices.)

So is your LEO a jerk because he’s worried about being ‘taken.’ Is he a maverick type that goes for it, but has lots of contingency plans? Or is he someone unwilling to venture outside his/her comfort zone?


  1. Excellent post! Thank you for your insight. Baby narclings? LOL! Too cute! :)

  2. Hi Cori, narcling is one of those terms that can be used in the positive or as a put down. But even when used in the negative it's considered light-hearted. Friends teasing friends. I usually laughed when I heard it or was near laughter when I used it.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  3. I liked that term, baby narclings,too. Very interesting post and it does make sense given the environment you describe cops work in.

  4. Gabriella, thank-you for stopping by. I still laugh at some of the terms my work buddies introduced me to.

    As you can well guess many are fun to share while others are quite inappropriate - bottom line the terms and phrases used by a sub-culture tend to help people outside that group identify it.

  5. Very informative, as usual, Margaret. Thank you for going into detail about cop psychology. Every bit of knowledge I glean from your teachings I file away in case I write a cop in the future. Thank you!


  6. Great Post! For ten years I worked for the sheriff's dept (as a community service officer) and even in my non-sworn role, I learned to be more suspicious of people. Not totally suspicious, but more aware. One of our auto theft detectives didn't believe anything anyone said to him. He had worked in LE for a long time and had been lied to all the time by everyone he took into custody and interviewed. I'm sure it must get really old.

  7. Thanks, Margaret. I can imagine this is especially hard on my cop's family.

  8. Melissa, happy to see you here although you're making me blush. I don't have any letters behind my name and I'm sure there are those out there with those letters who could break down cop psychology better than me.

  9. Oh it definitely gets real old real quick, hence the saying I can tell they’re lying because their lips are moving. Of course there is a line between suspicion and paranoia, the trick is not to cross it. A lot harder than it seems.

    Linda thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  10. Great post! I'm not a LEO, but a private investigator, and you bet I question every tale I hear. I always try to sleuth out the motivations of all parties, because sometimes my potential client is the sneaky person, not the subject he wants me to spy on. Usually when I tell a questionable caller that I'm going to check his history, he hangs up. That means no money for me, but at least I didn't facilitate a crime and maybe got more fodder for my books.

    Under the uniform, cops are people too. Some are born bullies and get worse with authority; others are sweethearts to deal with. Some are well educated; some can barely string a sentence together. But I'm always glad to know someone will come if I call 9-1-1.

  11. Okay Ana we have got to stop meeting like this. You innocently or not so innocently take me to places I'm not sure I want to go. LOL I'm starting to think you're a ringer - not that I'm suspicious or anything like that.

    I'm going to need a bit of time to formulate an answer for you.

  12. This is an interesting topic, and I wonder if it works the other way around--do cops become suspicious people, or do suspicious people become cops?

    And I wonder if that extra added caution isn't a kind of early maturity. As you accumulate mileage, you also store away "lessons learned." Learned the hard way, for most of us. But if a 25-year-old cop can be as wise as a 60-year-old civilian, that's a good thing,yes? Could help him stay alive, or at least keep the locker-room teasing to a minimum.

    Good to see you blogging, Margaret. Have you written any good helicopter scenes yet?

  13. Pamela B, I read your post and thought wow, it'd be interesting to sit down with you and exchange war stories. Funny thing - I actually thought I responded.

    You may not be sworn, but your heart shows you have the sheep dog attitude which is more important than the badge.

    Thank-you for stopping by.

  14. Lyn, thank-you for the possible blog topic.

    I always fall back on my moms saying - Common sense is not a common thing.

    So far no helicopter scenes but with you around I can feel one coming on. ;-)