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Telling Police Officers I am a Cop.

So, how do you guys do it? I'm mostly thinking of on a traffic stop. Do you come straight out with 'I'm a cop', do you try to slide you ID with your license, try something coy like 'my insurance is in the glove box, but my off duty firearm is in there, too', or something else.

Most of the time I've stopped other cops, I either knew them, or they made sure I saw their badge when they were getting their license (and they came across as jerks). I'm going on a road trip and, if I get stopped, basically want to know how to say it without coming across as a d---, haha. I'm not going to be driving crazy or anything, but as we all know, sometimes you just don't pay attention to those weird signs with numbers on them.



  • I was told way back when (20 years ago) that it was important to let the Officer know right away that you were Police officer too, especially if armed. I was also told that your actions of turning on your interior light, placing your hands on the 12 O'clock position and showing him or her the utmost respect would probably give you away anyway.

    I was also told not to expect a pass, but earn one. Is that the way it's still done? I sure hope so.
  • I've been stopped once (I was off duty) I showed my ID and insurance.. the state trooper asked what that was (my side arm) I told him I was an off duty PD and didn't realise I was speeding.. he let me go with no ticket...I didn't flaunt my badge or get all pissed off at him for doing his job..
  • Well I carry everywhere i go so my first words after the officer's spill with my hands in sight of course is " Sir before we go any further, I am armed. I am a police officer and I have my crudentials." Usually works really well.
  • You know how you feel when other officers do it to you...Show some respect for the officer and just don't do it. If your caught, be a man pratice what you preach and move on.
  • I have been stopped off duty. I parked like I would patrol car (out of habit), wallet was out of my pocket and in-hand, hands on the wheel, interior lights on. I stated to the PO I had my duty weapon with me as I proceeded to remove my TX DL. He requested to see my ID, which I showed him. He let me go, though I was not expecting that, I was trying to offer the courtesy I like when I pull over a brother/sister.
  • I've been carrying credentials/badge/firearm(s) for over 35 years. I've been stopped by uniformed officers more times than I can remember, and I've never had a problem. I'm respectful, have the dome light on and windows down if at night, with both hands on the steering wheel, waiting for his/her instructions. I've always carried my drivers license in my credential case, (as carrying two wallets is a dead give away that you are law enforcement to the bad guys), and the officer always sees my badge and credentials when they're watching me produce my drivers license. When they ask, and they always do, I tell they by whom I'm employed. I don't announce that I'm armed unless I'm out of the vehicle, and they're going to see the weapon when I reach for my license. In those 35 years and numerous stops, I've had four warning tickets, one in Florida, one in Georgia, and two in Arizona. Have met and become friends with a lot of brother officers in the process too. Bottom line, be respectful/professional, and understand that he or she is in charge. Be safe.
  • Same deal - I've been stopped 1x - Officer recognized me and said "watch it, I'd hate to have to send one of those letters". Personally once I see id or badge on a routine speed / traffic, the stop is over.
  • I've been pulled over three times (I know, I need to slow down) since I've been a LEO. I've been carrying twice, and those times I immediately told the officer something like "Before I reach for my license I want to let you know that I'm off duty and I do have my sidearm on me". They just clarified that I was a LEO, checked my badge/ID, and made some small talk about cop life before letting me go. The third time I just straight up told the deputy. Something like "I have no excuse. I should know better, I work for ________ county." Just remember not to be offended if they ask for badge/ID or question your status a bit after you tell them. We all do it for our safety to make sure they're not impersonators or pulling one over on us.
  • When I've been stopped, I always let the officer tell me why he stopped me. When he asks for my license and insurance (which I have ready and waiting when he approaches my car) I simply say. I apologize for speeding, not signaling, etc... I'm an off duty officer, I know I was in the wrong, and I understand if you have to write me a ticket.

    I never expect a free pass, but so far, I've never been written.
  • I have been pulled over once. I gave my DL and ID to the young trooper..
    I explained the situation. Advised him I had a pocket gun. He cut me loose.
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  • When I was on the job, I carried my off duty weapon in my belt behind my right hip. My wallet was in my right rear pocket. On the couple occasions I got stopped, or went thru a check point, I would tell them I was an off-duty officer, where my weapon, badge and ID was. I never was ticketed, but I also never expected a free pass. Most just said OK and let me receive my wallet/badge case and checked my ID. We shot the bull a bit, asked about officers we might know mutually and that was it and I went on about my way.

    In VA in the 90's, there was MUCH PC extended by local agencies to the State Police because of the coal mine strikes. Troopers had to work many hours over time and it was not uncommon to check a couple through RADAR going 85 the middle of the night. I usually called them on SIRS (Statewide Interdepartmental Radio System, ie - universal channel) and asked if they were going to or coming from.

    Nowdays, I have to drive VERY get out of jail free card in my wallet AND I drive a 2010 Mustang. LOL Retirement is a double edged sword for sure.
  • I've been stopped, off duty, several times during my 18 year career.. By the time the officer gets to my vehicle, my engine is off, windows down, hands on the steering wheel. When ask for my papers, I advise that I'm a peace officer and my badge and firearm are in the vehicle.. I've never had a problem.. And I have never lectured or cited a brother/sister when the roles were reversed..
  • I've been stopped a couple of times both on and off duty. Keep both hands at 12O'clock, make sure interior light is on, greet officer politely. When asked for DL I simply inform the PO that I am an officer, am armed, and location of weapon, badge, ID, and wallet. They usually check my ID, talk for a short time, them request that I be careful and send me on my way.
    I never expect any special treatment and am always courtious.
  • I've never been stopped but I carry 100% off-duty, so first words out are I'm armed. Things will follow in a natural progression from there.
  • We get very little in return for doing our job. In that I mean, a car salesman gets a discount, even Wal-Mart gives their employees discounts. If we act in a professional manner, why shouldn't we get a professional courtesy and a handshake and sent on our way? There are lines that can't be crossed like DWI and accidents, but even then there is courtesies that can be extended(as long as you are treated professionally).
    Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a situation where the Police get to police themselves. We abuse it or advertise it and we could lose it. We are PROFESSIONALS, we just have to act like one.
  • I let the circumstances dictate when and if I ID myself.

    Police ourselves? I didn't take this job just so I could skirt the law from time to time. If I get caught speeding for instance, I'll take the ticket and never bitch because I probably earned it. No officer automatically deserves a pass because he is a police officer. Ever hear of ethics? If you give a break, don't do it solely because of that badge he's wearing. Do it for the same reason you issued a warning to the last guy you cut a break.
  • edited 4 Feb 2013
    Some times it is how you present yourself, with the interior light on, hands at
    12 '0 clock position. (Officer) Do you know why I pulled you over ? (Myself) I am unaware of any infractions I may have caused, I am sure I was going the posted speed.
    (Myself) I am going to reach for my ID which is in my back pocket, I am sorry for taking time out of your Day / Night. (Officer) Here is your id back, (Myself) Thank you Officer.
    (Officer) I am giving you a verbal warning keep the speeds down. (Myself) I will do that Officer, Stay safe. End of contact

  • Interior lights on, hands on the wheel. First chance I get I say, "Sir/Ma'am, I'm an off-duty officer and have my gun on me." Has worked every time, even from the passenger side.
  • Got pulled off duty, wasnt carrying at the time, I never mentioned it to the cop so how he found out I'm not sure. He came back to the car with the ticket and said "little different on the other side of the door isnt it..." (retorical) "heres your $182 tickett". Needless to say I showed up at court looking professional, and pleaded guilty, with an explanation and it got dismissed. The officer apologized after the court process for being such a d--k, said he was havin a bad day. Regardless of day that I'm having I'm always a d--k (kidding). Dont wear your emotions on your sleeve.
  • On one of the occasions I was stopped (and ID'd myself since I was armed) and got a pass, the trooper asked me what I did as a cop. I kinda gave him this stupid grin and said "traffic cop - laser/radar instructor, etc. And I'd like to thank you for stopping me and reminding me how it feels to be on THIS side of the window... but please feel free to do what you have to do."

    He told me that was the best laugh he'd had all day.
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  • In all my years I have never written a fellow officer, and have never been written. We give breaks to other people sometimes so shouldn't we get the same treatment? Honestly, I would write an officer who was rude or disrespectful, but I haven't gotten it yet.
  • I have been stopped a few times. All the officers were great when I informed them who i was and what i was carrying. One trooper ask me if I was every in the military, I stated yes and he ask where I told him Air Force, come to find out he and I where at the same base in North Dakota, and we played softball against each other. He didn't give me a ticket, but did warn me that some troopers will not care and give you a ticket.
  • I've been stopped a hand full of times. Yes we all speed, some times we're caught, sometimes we're not. I keep my hands on the wheel. Then I hand over my license, veh reg and police id when asked for my information. I've been given verbal warnings, in MD I was given a written warning due to that departments police on if you are stopped you get a ticket or written warning, they want a paper trail on every stop. Now in OH back in 2010, an OH state tropper stopped me, yes I was speeding and he wrote me a summons, but he was a jerk during the whole stop. As I feel now I don't think I would ever write a fellow LEO a ticket, our job is hard enough, no our badge doesn't give us the right to do as we please, but a break now and again wont hurt.
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