How Good Is Your Police Slang?

By: Kale Havervold
Estimated Completion Time
5 min
Question 1 What is a J-Cat?
A type of police cruiser
A category of crime
A mentally ill individual
Of course, there are numerous different categories of individuals, and police must be able to identify them quickly. If a police officer talks about a J-cat (category J person), they are often speaking of a mentally ill person.
A stray and rabid animal

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Question 2 When someone has an "Irish pendant," where would it be located?
On their uniform
An Irish pendant refers to a loose string or set of strings on the uniform of a police officer. While they are not always an issue, you definitely wouldn't want to have one ahead of an inspection.
On their face
On their shoes
In their car

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Question 3 If someone is wearing a Sam Browne, what are they wearing?
A bullet-proof vest
A police hat
A pair of steel-toed shoes
A belt
While actual Sam Browne brand belts are no longer in use among most police forces and have fallen out of favor, most people in the industry still refer to any police utility belt as a Sam Browne.

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Question 4 What are "Berries and Cherries"?
A popular flavor of ice cream loved by most cops
The lights on a police car
Berries and cherries, when it comes to the police, refers to the red and blue lights on a police car. Some people might even refer to the police themselves as the berries and cherries.
Slang for a prison
The colors of a police uniform

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Question 5 When would a cop use the term "Hook'em and Book'em"?
When they are arresting someone
The term "hook'em and book'em" refers to getting a suspect in handcuffs and getting them booked in at the jail. So this term would often be heard when someone is being arrested by an officer.
When they are in a car chase
When they are interviewing someone
When a person is being released from prison

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Question 6 If a person is a "Deuce," what are they doing?
Driving drunk
The term "deuce" refers to someone who is driving drunk or is under the influence. The term originally started back in California, but it has spread around the rest of the country.
Using the bathroom in public outdoors
Texting and driving
Jaywalking

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Question 7 Police officers frequently say "10-4" during radio conversation; what does it mean?
Assistance required
Provide your location
Understood
10-4 is one of the few police "10 codes" and radio signals that allow officers to quickly and effectively communicated. It essentially means "OK" or "understood" and is a common response on the radio.
A status check-in

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Question 8 What makes someone a "House Mouse"?
If they take their job too seriously
They still haven't gotten their first arrest.
If they are new to the force
When an officer rarely leaves the station
Part of being a police officer, at least most of the time, is going out on patrol. However, if an officer doesn't do that, and just stays at the station, they are often called a house mouse.

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Question 9 FIDO is a commonly used acronym used by police officers. What does it mean?
Face it, do over
Forget it, drive on
FIDO means "forget it and drive on." This term is often used for situations that potentially could be criminal or suspicious, but officers decide not to investigate any further for one reason or another.
Fake it, due on
Flat inside, durable outside

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Question 10 If an arrested person is getting "Mirandized," what is happening to them?
They are getting tossed in the police car.
They are getting booked in.
An arrested individual is read their rights.
Everyone has rights, and when you are arrested, some of these rights need to be explained to you via officers. These are called Miranda rights, and when you are being read these rights, you are being Mirandized.
Individuals inform their families they have been arrested.

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Question 11 When a police officer uses the term "perp," what are they referring to?
Someone in purple clothing
Someone who is the victim of a crime
A store owner who has been robbed
Someone they believe committed a crime
Another way to say that someone committed a crime is to say that they were the perpetrator of that crime. As a result, a perp refers to someone that officers know or believe has committed a crime.

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Question 12 What does the term "D-Dub" mean?
Driving while intoxicated
D-dub typically refers to a DWI (driving while intoxicated). While it is common slang, it is hardly ever used on the radios themselves and is mainly just spoken between a group of officers in a more personal manner.
Driving without a license
Driving without any insurance
Driving while texting

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Question 13 If a police officer asks someone if they have a "script" for something, what are they usually referring to?
Drugs
If a police officer asks someone if they have a script, it is usually in the context of asking about prescription drugs. People who carry a large number of prescription drugs without a prescription can find themselves in a lot of trouble.
Guns
An actual movie script
Money

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Question 14 What does it mean if someone is "flying colors"?
High on drugs
Showing off gang colors
If someone is flying colors, it means that they are showing off gang colors publically. This is often done through the clothing they are wearing, the colors of their vehicle, or many other things.
Stealing items
Breaking into a business

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Question 15 If an officer is wearing "civvies," what are they wearing?
Their uniform
Special underwear
Civilian clothing
If an officer is just wearing civvies, it means they are in civilian clothing. This could mean that they are off duty, coming to or from work, or even doing some secret undercover work that requires them to blend in.
Large boots

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Question 16 What does the acronym "BOLO" stand for?
Be on the lookout
BOLO refers to be on the lookout. This term is usually used to warn other officers about a criminal or potentially suspicious individual that they should be looking out for. The term dates back many decades.
Bring old laws over
Best of legal obligation
Bond over loud objects

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Question 17 When an officer asks another what their "20" is, what are they asking?
How long into their shift they are
Where they are
If one police officer asks another "what's your 20", they are asking where they currently are. Identifying the location of other officers or individuals is very important and this radio code allows them to do so quickly.
How many arrests they have made that day
How far from the police station they are

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Armed individual
Police need to make lightning-quick communication with one another from time to time, and radio signals help them do so. Signal 0 is instrumental as it refers to an armed individual or caution.
A car accident
A break-in
A fight

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Question 19 If a person is "banged up," what are they?
High on drugs
Facing at least 25 years in prison
Just got beaten up
Locked in a cell
While many of these potential answers might have sounded right, being banged up means you are locked away in a cell. This can both refer to a cell in a jail, police station or prison.

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Question 20 What is a person doing if they "cough" during an interrogation"?
Pretend not to know anything
Blame someone else for crimes
Confess to crimes
Interrogations can go a number of ways and have a variety of different results. Ultimately, police want to end the interrogation with the suspect coughing (or confessing) to the crime.
Get incredibly angry

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Question 21 When police officers are in a "sleeper car," what does that mean?
A car that cops sleep in during stakeouts
An unassuming vehicle with high performance under the hood
A sleeper car is a car that looks pretty normal and boring on the outside but is incredibly high performing under the hood. Many undercover police cars are sleeper cars, in an effort to blend in.
The car of a criminal
Their civilian vehicles

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Question 22 In the law enforcement world, what is meant if you say someone is "tooled up"?
They are high.
They are working as a carpenter.
They are carrying a weapon.
Many criminals carry weapons, and many police officers will refer to those people as tooled up. While any weapon can lead to someone being tooled up, it is generally some kind of a gun.
They are wearing lots of makeup.

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Question 23 What is the slang term given to a certain area that a police officer is in charge of patrolling?
Country
Beat
The area where a certain officer generally works and is comfortable with is often called their beat. People may be uncomfortable switching beats and may be partial to remaining in their own during a patrol.
Province
Land

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Question 24 If a police station has a "full boat," what does that mean?
No more room in holding cells
Stacked full of paperwork
All police cars are out of commission.
The entire force is working.
When a police station has a full boat, it means that the entire squad is at work, no one is sick, away or on leave. Having so many people can often allow a force to take on special types of jobs or assignments that night.

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Question 25 When a suspect "flips" during an investigation or interrogation, what is happening?
They change their story.
They confess and implicate other people.
When someone flips during an interview or interrogation, it is often a large win for law enforcement. It is when a person confesses to a crime and also reveals who else was involved and what they did.
They do an actual flip.
They start asking interviewers all the questions.

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Question 26 What is normally happening when it is said that a criminal "skated" on their charges?
They are going to do more time than expected.
They get acquited due to a technicality.
While many people end up being prosecuted for the crimes they commit, this isn't always the case. When someone skates on their charge, it means they were acquitted, often on some sort of technicality.
They are going to do less time than expected.
They plead guilty.

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Question 27 If a police officer says that a person has a "GAT," what do they have?
An illegal firearm
A gat is an illegal firearm that many criminals will be in possession of and use. The term dates back many decades back to the days of the Gatling gun, which was a predecessor to modern machine guns.
Underground gambling ring
A fence for selling stolen items
A felony charge

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Question 28 A relatively common crime in many cities is "B&E." What does it stand for?
Bacon and eggs
Breaking and entering
B&E stands for breaking and entering. It is an unfortunately common crime that consists of someone breaking into a building with the goal or intention of committing a crime of some kind.
Battery and evasion
Biking and evading

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Question 29 When a police officer asks about the "LKA" for an individual, what are they asking about?
Last known address
Of course, one of the biggest jobs a police officer will have is trying to track down suspects to question or arrest. Knowing their LKA (or last known address) can be incredibly beneficial in the search.
Little kids around
Last known assailant
Little known area

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Question 30 If a criminal is aggressively resisting arrest or is threatening the lives of officers, they might give him a "wood shampoo." What is it?
Throw them down to the ground
Hit them in the head with their baton
Giving someone a wood shampoo is when an officer will hit a criminal in the head with their baton. While this kind of force isn't often needed, there is the odd situation that will call for it. It is called a wood shampoo as these batons used to be made of wood.
Throw plywood at them
A chokehold

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Question 31 What does a police officer mean when they say "Tango" to another officer?
A suspect is near.
They want to dance.
They need assistance.
Thank you
If an officer says "Tango" to another either over the radio or in person, it is essentially that officer saying thank you. Oftentimes, "Tango" can also be the radio dispatcher code for the letter T when spelling out a name.

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Question 32 When a police officer reports someone as DRT, what do they mean?
Doctor required today
Death remedy tested
Done run and tell
Dead right there
DRT stands for "dead right there." It is often mentioned at the scene of another accident or other situation where an individual is already deceased, and thus no life-saving techniques or medical attention needs to be given and focus can be on other individuals who could still be saved.

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Question 33 If an officer says "over" over the radio, what does it mean?
I am done talking and ready for your response back.
Radio talk is incredibly common among police officers, and some of the radios will only allow one side to talk at once. On these radios, it is common to say over when you are done talking, so the other side knows when they can start.
This conversation is over.
Where is your location?
I have arrested the suspect.

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Question 34 When an officer is chasing down a criminal, and "splashes" them, what does it mean?
Squirts them with a water gun
Sideswipes them with a vehicle
Tackles them to the ground
While stressful and potentially dangerous, foot pursuits do occasionally happen when police are in the line of duty. An officer may need to "splash" a suspect at times, which means to take them down to the ground.
Calls the fire department to help

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Question 35 What does it mean when an officer reports someone is "DIP"?
Dying in peril
Drunk in public
If an officer is reporting a DIP, it means they have an individual drunk in public. Simply being drunk in public won't normally attract the attention of the police, unless a person is being a nuisance.
Done inside patio
Death inside patrol

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