The Ultimate Police Slang Quiz


By: Heather Cahill

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Slang is a part of our everyday lives. It comes and goes, but there's some slang you may not be familiar with. For example, a doctor might have some slang that you have never heard of. In this case, you'll need to know the jargon that police use to communicate with each other. You may have heard of some of them, while others may be totally new for you. So, think you can figure out what police officers are saying?

If you've watched crime shows, then chances are you have heard quite a bit of slang words that officers and detectives use. Use this to your advantage! These terms can range from acronyms and abbreviations to the 10 codes that truckers use with each other. Yes, police use them too! An officer's job is to serve and protect, but in order to do so, communication is also key. No matter what your job title is, if you can ace this quiz then you could be an honorary police officer!

So, think you can talk like an officer or at least understand them? Then now is you time to shine. Prove that you could wear an honorary badge by acing this quiz!

What is a "deuce"?

A "deuce" is used for a driver with a DUI. While that is what it means to police officers, it can also mean a tie.


Acronyms are very common in police slang. What is the TFU?

The Tactical Firearms Unit deals with larger scale situations that involve military-level skill. They're often known by many different names such as the SWAT team.


How many fingers might a cop hold up to tell another cop that they don't need help?

Holding up four fingers is a signal that a cop might use to another cop to tell them they don't need any assistance or help with a situation. If you're the receiving cop, you can then carry on and prevent more crime!


What is it called when a prisoner is hit by a stick so that they will cooperate?

This comes from the fact that the sticks are likely made from wood and that the prisoners may have been hit in the head. It can even be heard from outside the police station as well.


Is it true or false that a "robbery snatch" is a very quick robbery?

This is true. It's a fairly fast robbery where the suspect flees very quickly. It is typically conducted in person right in front of the victim's eyes.


Which of the following might be referred to as a "paper" by the police?

As an officer, reports are a very important part of your job. The slang around your workplace might refer to reports as papers, just like they are referred to in school.


The "SA" is what?

SA is a short way to say "state attorney," which is a person who works as a lawyer for the state. Did you know that in different states there are different names for the term?


What is the name for the stick that officers use to defend themselves?

Billy club is the name for this weapon that an officer might carry. They're typically a stick that is better and more widely known as a baton for use in situations where lethal force is not warranted.


A slang term for using a Taser on someone is what?

In a reference to the electric shock that a Taser gives off, the term is "ride the lightning." Tasers are often used in cases of individuals who are hard to detain or stop.


Is it true or false that "VIN" stands for vehicle identification number?

This is true. The vehicle identification number is a very useful tool for police officers. By knowing the VIN of a vehicle, they can find out a lot that they would need to know about the car.


"VIW" might seem like a weird acronym, but it's pretty important to an officer. What does it mean?

Victims, informants and witnesses are the subject of this acronym. Each one of these people are all important in the world of law and enforcement.


What does "GTA" stand for?

"GTA" means exactly what it stands for in the video game that uses this acronym. It's just what it sounds like, theft of a motor vehicle.


Do you know what a "GAT" is?

"GAT" may not seem like the perfect word for a firearm, but it came from somewhere! The term originates from a Gatling gun, and it has been used as a general term since.


What acronym is used for an unidentified subject?

This is a term that you've probably heard a lot on the television show "Criminal Minds"! It's a mix of the two words put together into one easy-to-say word.


Is it true or false that the YID deals with youth?

This is true. The YID stands for Youth Investigations Division and deals with juveniles who have committed or have been involved with crimes. The branch often deals with custody matters as well.


If a prisoner is "BKD," what are they?

BKD is an acronym that is most commonly used when in reference to a prisoner. If they're booked, they're booked into the prison where they will be staying.


What is a "house mouse?"

A house mouse is an officer you'll usually find in the office rather than out patrolling. These officers would much rather stay behind and do paperwork than get out in the field!


A "DOC" to a police officer is what?

The Department of Corrections is part of the government, but each state has its own department. The DOC determines and handles everything to do with those who have been incarcerated.


What is an "Irish pendant"?

As an officer, you'll always want your uniform to look its best. So, if you notice an Irish pendant hanging from it, you'll want to fix that up immediately. Don't let the chief see it!


Is it true or false that "lockup" is where prisoners sleep?

This is false. Lockup is a place where prisoners go to get documented for their crime. Things like fingerprints are completed in this area.


You're asked for a 10-20. What do you need to give?

Just like in trucking, officers use the 10 codes as well. "What's your 20," or "What's your 10-20" are both ways to ask where an officer is located.


"ATL" stands for what?

While "ATL" may mean different things to many people, to an officer it means "attempt to locate." This could be used in many situations such as in a missing persons case or a case where a person's location might be unknown.


If an officer says "tango" to you, what are they saying?

When it comes to being a police officer, tango isn't the dance you might think it is. Tango instead is a way to say thank you that is derived from the military code.


A "JUV" is what?

"JUV" is short for juvenile and is used as a shorter way to refer to them. In the United States, a juvenile is a person who is under the age of 18 and treated as a minor.


Is it true or false that "ADW" stands for "always directly watching"?

This is false. It actually stands for "assault with a dangerous weapon." It can be heard often in court, or even out in the field when a suspect attempts to attack someone.


"MISPER" is short for what term?

MISPER is slang that police officers use to notify of a missing person. The word first originated in the 1800s and it is still being used today.


What does the acronym "ETOH" stand for?

While it is commonly used in the medical profession, ETOH is also used by police officers. It's usually used for someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and a quick way to communicate that to someone else.


If someone asks who the A/O is, what do they want to know?

A/O stands for "arresting officer," so they would want to know who made the arrest. This is also an important thing to know and document in cases of trials or other events.


"FIDO" is an acronym that cops use. In what occasion might it be used?

"FIDO" isn't the most polite acronym, but it works for what it is used for! When you're on the job and decide to ignore a speeding car or other incident, then you might use or hear the acronym used.


Is it true or false that 11-96 is code used for asking for backup?

This is true. 11-96 is that backup code for use in situations that require more than just the officer there. It is usually used in situations where someone or something is out of hand or too severe to handle.


An "MDT" is what?

Mobile Data Terminals are kept in the police cruiser and are used for displaying information as well as other purposes. Aside from police officers, many other professionals use these in their jobs as well.


Police officers share a lot of slang with truckers. What does "copy" mean?

The word "copy" is used to say OK or yes. It's typically used by police on the phone or radio, similar to how truckers use the term.


Who would you have to notify if someone passed away?

The NOK is a slang term for "next of kin." Next of kin are extremely important in cases of death as they are then given a lot of responsibility and have a lot of weight when it comes to what will happen next.


What does BOLO stand for?

This is one you might hear in a situation where police are investigating a crime scene. It can also be used in accompaniment of information given to an officer to tell them more about a suspect to watch for.


If someone asks for the "L.K.A.," what do they want?

The last known address is often an important thing to find out when working on a crime. It can be a great place to find out more information or even find someone you may be looking for.


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