Four Lessons Learned from Decades Watching COPS

Decades of watching the FOX hit series COPS has taught me some wonderful life lessons. Specifically, it’s taught me how to spot and avoid drug addicts.

The following observations don’t come from a single episode, but countless episodes spanning the decades since it first aired. Though in fairness, you can likely find all these lessons in any single episode.

“I’m not going to lie to you…”

Yes you are. Whatever you say next is going to be a lie, you’re just stalling to think of a more convincing lie.

But you’re not that clever, so what comes next is, well it’s just plain sad.

I started applying this in my own life a few years ago and it’s served me well. Anyone who leads with “I’m not go to lie to you,” can only be counted on for one thing… to lie to me, and unconvincingly at that.

“These are not my pants…”

Search all you want, it doesn't matter, these are clearly not my pants. See how low they droop? They're not even the right size!
Search all you want, it doesn’t matter, these are clearly not my pants. See how low they droop? They’re not even the right size!
These are always the answer to “can I check your pockets?” or “what’s this I just found?” Not very convincing too, I might add.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been wearing “some guy’s” pants, completely unaware of the fact that I had drugs, guns, a two-pound wad of crumpled up five dollar bills, or a crack pipe in them.

I can’t count that many, because it’s zero. Much like most Americans, I don’t wear “other people’s” pants, and if for some reason I did (spill, tear, bloody accident,” the first thing I’d do is take inventory of the pockets.

At least these tweakers and crackheads could be clever enough to say, “These aren’t my pants. Come on, just look, they’re three sizes too big!”

Now, clearly some of that is a (odd, misplaced) choice in style. Pants that big when you know it’s just a matter of time before you have to run like hell and start jumping fences is a recipe for tripping over yourself. Who gave you your style and “get out of jail free” advice, Martha Stewart?

But some of these people genuinely used to be big, and they lost weight. Good on them, what’s the secret? Oh, right, a crippling drug addiction, and some of that lost weight being attributed to missing teeth. Too bad for that, but hey, can’t get cavities if you don’t have teeth.

“You have the right to remain silent…”

Go on, just keep painting yourself further into that absurd little corner.
Go on, just keep painting yourself further into that absurd little corner.
Shrek said it best, “Donkey, you have the right to remain silent. What you lack is the capacity.” You’re already under arrest, so stop talking. You’re only digging yourself in deeper.

Oh, your uncle is a cop somewhere? Oh, you’re actually an undercover informant? Oh, you haven’t smoked crack since this morning? All very helpful in the investigation, but you’re still not walking away from this one.

I can’t guess how many times I’ve seen a suspect whom the officer determined was going to be released with or without a warning, only to return and get yelled at. Buddy, you were home free until you opened your big dumb mouth.

To remain silent is more than a right, it’s a damned good idea.

“I only had two beers…”

The only thing that's obvious here is the fact that gravity is not behaving like it should. Is this planet spinning or something?
The only thing that’s obvious here is the fact that gravity is not behaving like it should. Is this planet spinning or something?
He may look fine, he may be covering one eye so he can still focus, but the invariable answer to the question, “You had anything to drink tonight,” somehow always works out to, “I only had two beers.”

Last time an officer asked me the last time I had a drink, I was flustered. I didn’t “get” the question. I said something like, “I… I don’t know, maybe Friday or Saturday?” Mind you, it was the following Thursday. He wasn’t looking for me.

Two beers is the wrong answer because for most people, that’s apparently where they lose count. If you were sober, the answer would be plain. Something like, “I had a glass of wine with dinner, but that was three hours ago,” or “my boss took me out to celebrate my promotion and he bought me a Guinness.”

Two beers? You think it’s his first day on the job? Come on, son, he can smell you from inside his cruiser.

BONUS: Don’t consent to filming…

Seriously, if the COPS crew shows up while you’re there, you don’t have to consent to filming, and they can’t show you without your permission. They’re not going to pay you and they’ll only show you if it makes you look like a jackass.

If you do consent to being filmed, then you pretty much are the sort of jackass they’re looking for.

Author: Dexter Sinistri

Dexter Sinistri is a famously centrist writer who has worked as a Hollywood correspondent for a number of leading publications since 2005. Though once a photographer, Mr. Sinistri struck out as a writer on all things celebrity, and he likes to consider himself a tremendous asset to Glossy News, though by most accounts, he has fallen somewhat short of this effort.