Ask a Cop – November 2009


Dear Cop,
A friend of mine is on the force and takes a lot of pride in his job (I hope you don’t mind me leaving out his job title). We got to talking about what he does as part of his duties and how it differs from other officers, which led to the discussion of there being a pecking order beyond rank, and how the two lowest jobs in the city for police are TRAX Officer and Prison Guard. So now I’m curious, why are those two jobs considered the bottom of the barrel? And what exactly is the full pecking order for officers? Are cops with cruisers considered more important than bike or desk cops? Is there really a difference in their eyes, or is this all bullshit and a cop is just a cop?


Dear Curious,
You’d like to leave out his job title. Hmmm… must mean he’s internal affairs.  The only cops who like IA cops are other IA cops.  Except, perhaps those cops trying to move up in the pecking order your friend mentioned.  Those movers drop dimes to the IA cops, whether they be real or imaginary dimes (but generally imaginary)—anything to give their competition a black eye so they can move up the cop political ladder.

Hell yes there’s a pecking order, and every cop is in each other’s way.  You’d be surprised what cops do to screw their “brother officers” when jockeying for rank, assignment or just a new job with another department.  Police departments, like everywhere else, are all about who you know and blow.

From the moment someone decides on a law enforcement career, they’re placed on lists.  There are lists to get hired, lists to become Detective, lists for SWAT, lists for promotion and a bunch of other lists.  Somebody better on the list than you?  Make an anonymous call and say they’re sleeping around, drinking too much, beating their wife, possibly double dipping while beating their wife and drunk—all of these and a million more have been used.

Honestly, cops are like tweakers.  Tweakers sit around, smoke a puddle and tell each other how they’re family for life, brothers. If anybody fucks with them they go down together, fighting to the death.  But if one gets up to take a piss, the other steals all his shit, pawns it, and fires up a new shard with a new tweaker friend.  Cops work together in life and death, through tragedy, create camaraderie with their fellow bros, and then anonymously rat out some drunken poker/dui/escort binge when one of their “bros” is next in line for Sergeant.  Worse, they do it to the guy’s girlfriend who makes the anonymous call to IA.

Oh yeah, your question. TRAX and Corrections are only considered the lowest because of pay, duties and authority.  A lot of that has changed, so being the lowest isn’t so much the case anymore.  Hope I answered it.

Cops are just cops, except, some actually are cops.  The rest, the movers, well they’re politicians who never quite made it as a cop.
Asshole Mover Politician Wannabe Cop