Yes, this is gun-related. I’ve seen a large number of police videos where peace officers draw their guns and then use obscene language to control suspected perps and other peeps. And I’ve wondered, WTF? Aren’t police officers trained to de-escalate situations? Drawing down on someone is serious sh*t. Doing so while threatening and swearing – “I’ll f*ckin’ put a round in your ass right quick” – is not what I consider calming. I understand cops are under stress. I know they’re often dealing with belligerent, foul-mouthed folks. I realize that some scum have limited comprehension skills for anything other than gutter language. But if we, fellow gun-carrying civilians, draw our gun and say “I’ll put a round in your ass” it can and will be used against us in court of law. Shouldn’t cops set a good example, try to pour verbal oil of troubled waters and keep it clean? Just wonderin’ . . .

184 Responses to Question of the Day: Should Cops Swear?

  1. No, they should not be allowed to swear especially considering in most places swearing in public loudly can get one a disorderly conduct charge.

    • When you swear, you are showing you are comfortable with them using that type of language.

      Don’t want them to use profanity? Don’t use it yourself.

      • One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. If swearing in public is a violation of the law police must not be allowed to violate the law. They are supposed to be held to a higher standard than ordinary people the moment they are sworn into duty. They must also display professionalism and courtesy at all times, that’s the job.

        • Public swearing is not against the law. Plus they do not have to be held to a higher standard. Ridiculous bullshit. The are held to the same standard, and if you show you are comfortable with profanity, then they can use it too. Period.

        • “Plus they do not have to be held to a higher standard. Ridiculous bullshit. The are held to the same standard”

          Then they shouldn’t have any special privileges.

        • “Then they shouldn’t have any special privileges.”

          They don’t get special privileges. They only get to do what they need to enforce the law, and they need to follow the law like everyone else does.

        • “They don’t get special privileges. They only get to do what they need to enforce the law, and they need to follow the law like everyone else does.”

          You mean like how they always obey the speed limits, even when their emergency flashers aren’t activated? Or how they can lie to you in order to obtain evidence against you? Or how they can shoot people, get a months-long paid vacation, and be cleared of any wrongdoing? Or how they can fabricate entire incidents, shown to be lying by video evidence, and not suffer any repercussions? Or how, even if they do suffer repercussions, it’s always the tax-paying public who foots the bill for them?

          They don’t get any privileges, eh? That’s the story you’re going with?

        • They don’t get special privileges. They only get to do what they need to enforce the law, and they need to follow the law like everyone else does.

          Sure… like these examples:

          • An off duty cop need only flash his badge when pulled over by another cop for speeding or traffic violation.
          • Have a cop friend? Related to a cop? That cop can “take care” of a ticket for you.
          • Legislation for police officer carve outs – including those off duty.
          • Cop? Shoot a guy? Get a paid vacation. Regular joe? Shoot a guy? Instant arrest pending investigation.
          • Cop? Swear in public and Jon will defend you. Swearing teenager who gets his locker searched because he stated he would shoot a dinosaur? Arrest on disorderly conduct.
          • Cop? Sure – open or concealed carry. Regular Joe? Please “provide a need” for the granting of a permit.

        • Public swearing is not against the law. Plus they do not have to be held to a higher standard. Ridiculous bullshit. The are held to the same standard, and if you show you are comfortable with profanity, then they can use it too. Period.

          So… if I break the law then they should be able to also? Seriously?

        • “Plus they do not have to be held to a higher standard. Ridiculous bullshit. ”

          Fuck that. We give them authority to deprive us of our Constitutionally-recognized rights, including our lives, and you don’t think they do not have to be held to a higher standard? Fuck no. They absolutely SHOULD be held to a MUCH higher standard.

  2. Should they? NO. Do they, yes.

    No professional should use coarse, gutter, crude, language in the course of their professional duties. It does escalate rather than de-escalates a violent situation. And, the point that such language would be used in court against anyone else who used it is valid.

    • Should cops swear? Why yes, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing BUT the truth every minute they are on duty. As for the foul mouth sailor routine, wash their mouths out with Irish spring soap.

    • Bingo. I’m sorry RF but if you try and use “verbal judo” on some of the people cops deal with it’ll be like trying to talk to them in a different language. It will also tend to escalate the situation because they’ll think you’re a punk.

      If you’re at the point where you’re a few pounds of trigger pressure away from shooting someone I think profanity is not what we should be worried about.

      • So, cops can violate community standards, laws, and rights if it makes their job easier and safer, correct?

        Wrong. Police can talk sternly, loudly, and with a deep voice all they want. They can issue commands all they want. Shouting obscenities at people is illegal no matter what the context, period. Watching a violent criminal attack someone causes enough emotional scars on my children. The last thing I want is for them to suffer additional emotional scars from some foul-mouthed cop.

        If a police officer doesn’t think he/she can get the job done with stern, deep, and loud commands, then he/she must go find another line of work.

        • In the communities that these cops find themselves, the community standards definitely involve a lot of routine cursing. Spend much time deep in the hood and the f-bomb will become an integral part of your vernacular.

        • Spend much time deep in the hood…

          Seems like you are making Robert’s point for him. Many people see certain segments of our society swear a lot, even the women. It’s mf this and mf that, and we are left to wonder, “Were these people raised by wolves?” And we see them do it in front of their children on youtube videos and such, and we know that at least the next generation is being raised by wolves.

          Should law enforcement act like these reprobates? Cops often get accused of being thugs with badges, and them acting that way this just seems to reinforce that view.

        • Oh your poor, poor children hearing a naughty word!

          The fact that you laugh about this tells us as much or more about you than the people who are offended by swearing, or don’t think it’s professional.

        • “The fact that you laugh about this tells us as much or more about you than the people who are offended by swearing, or don’t think it’s professional.”

          It sure does; it tells me that he has a strong enough constitution to ignore offensive language in the context of a violent police collar, and that he has the intelligence necessary to pick his battles just a bit more carefully than the dainty little flowers who don’t.

        • In the communities that these cops find themselves, the community standards definitely involve a lot of routine cursing.

          Attorney: “Officer, why did you tell my client to, quote, ‘Don’t move or I’ll put a round through your motherf****** head and not lose a wink of sleep over it!’?”

          Officer: “Well, see, you have to talk to these people that way because they don’t know how to behave like normal people.”

          That’ll go over well in court.

        • Hannibal,

          Our children are not poor. Quite the opposite … they are so valuable that we should go to great lengths to prevent strangers from poisoning their minds with graphic descriptions of sex and other obscenities when conducting our business, even if it somehow makes our jobs more difficult or dangerous. That is what being honorable is all about … a quality that police should have in abundance.

          No one should tolerate a stranger injecting nasty chemicals into a child’s body even if that somehow made the stranger’s job easier or safer. And no one should tolerate a stranger injecting nasty words/images into a child’s mind even if that somehow makes the stranger’s job easier or safer. The fact that you don’t understand that or reject it is beyond disturbing.

        • Yeah, cops have a slightly different set of rules. Ever heard of the continuum of force? We want them to be able to physically force compliance from people who ignore verbal commands. The whole “hold them to the exact same rules” idea isn’t really all that practical.

    • Uhhh, how many humans get to legally tie people up and carry them away to places they don’t want to go? And on a somewhat related note, are there humans who don’t swear and curse in public regularly when carrying out their jobs? Something to consider.

  3. Swearing does not go hand in hand with professionalism. What I want from law enforcement, more than most anything else, is professionalism. From that springs an avoidance of all kinds of behaviors that we don’t want, from being foul-mouthed to unequal treatment to shooting dogs unnecessarily. If they conduct themselves at all times with professionalism, it takes all those other things pretty much off the table, because they are all at odds with acting professionally.

    • All that said, I realize of course that it’s gonna happen. And it’s not the end of the world when it does. Sometimes an artfully placed curse word carries a great impact to getting results.

      Also, keep in mind that virtually all the videos we see are taken at times of extreme stress. I don’t for a second think that most cops, even the ones we see in the videos that appear here, use language like that on an ordinary encounter with a citizen.

      • I don’t for a second think that most cops, even the ones we see in the videos that appear here, use language like that on an ordinary encounter with a citizen.

        Agreed. I think that would be a good indicator to use in weeding out those who should be bus drivers instead of cops.

      • Professionalism, absolutely. Occasional swearing as needed, no problem.

        Telling me “Don’t Fing move, I will Fing shoot you” when I got pulled over for 10 over the speed limit on Thanksgiving – not exactly cool.

        • This. There’s no “one size fits all” rule for these situations, and once somebody has drawn their weapon, the only way to escalate things from there is for someone to fire a shot. When you’re reached that point, it’s all about cowing the other person into compliance so no one gets hurt, not making sure their sensibilities aren’t offended, along with those of any nearby nuns, schoolgirls or grandmas.

          Look, if you tell someone you’re going to “shoot them in the f*cking face” for cutting in line at Tim Horton’s, then of course that’s gonna turn up in court. Whether you’re a soldier, cop, or civvy, and you’re trying to get an attacker to drop their weapon and get on the ground before they can kill you or someone else, then a few F-bombs might need to be dropped, so go for it.

  4. I am quite certain that if someone had been shot in the incident on this video, that every person involved would have photographs depicting smiling faces from 3rd grade and a sidewalk interview of an elderly lady telling us how sweet they were in Vacation Bible School.

    Was there probable cause for the stop and the arrest? Is my question. I am not really happy with the police officer’s use of profanity, but he did not start yelling profanity at a van full of nuns. If the men in this incident placed themselves in harm’s way by their conduct and the incident with police proceeded from a legally supported process, then this seems to be a case of doing stupid things with stupid people and getting stupid prizes.

    If, however, the police are acting in error, then they should humbly apologize. Maybe shake hands. Possibly meet at the White House for a beer.

    Now, if they talked like this in an inappropriate venue, then they should be subject to disciplinary action.

    • That is the real problem. Not profanity. The threats made against citizens far beyond simply giving a command. I listened to a Butler, PA city cop threaten to hunt down a man’s entire family. His crime? Parking in his own driveway. Why did the officer not simply ask whose car and whose property it was on? No idea. Cop slammed him face first into a cement sidewalk because he tried to tell him it was his house and drive. State Trooper arrived and deescalated the situation. As he was leaving I heard the city cop say, quote, “I’ll get your f*cking a$$.” ST took statements from victim and witnesses, never heard anything else about it.

  5. Kinda seems a bit nitpicky and armchair quarterback-ey. I feel a lot of people who critique police, troops, AND armed citizens have never been in a situation where they have had the stress of pointing and or firing a gun at someone. I’ve been there, it’s an insane feeling and half the time you can’t even remember what you were saying at the time. I’m all for tight scrutiny in cases of excessive force or civil rights violation but something like this seems petty.

    • It must be a slow day in the news.

      Also… what does this have to do with police militarization? I know RF lately has pointedly denied accusations that he is anti LEO, but this article seems to fly in the face of that.

      I mean, we’ve got world events going on right now like Russia invading Ukraine and women being sold as slaves in ISIS controlled regions…

      Meanwhile we are talking about police using potty language.

      • It just never ENDS. . . I once saw a disgusting cop SPIT his chewing gum out into a trash can instead of politely and gently expectorating it into a clean Kleenex held in the concealing palm of his hand held over his mouth. Shocking! I also was recently in a diner, and a vile and uncouth cop didn’t even refold his napkin after he wiped his mouth with it, just tossed it messily back on the table. One brutish cop with him even used the wrong fork at dinner! I am told, but this is probably apocryphal, that some cops don’t brush after every meal, and there are a few who (gasp!) don’t floss as often as they should.

        if Our Public Servants can’t be held to a Higher Standard, the Country is Doomed. DOOMED, I tell you!

        • Miss Manners & the dental commercial aside. A true professional holds ones self to a higher standard. It’s a sign of respect for both them & the persons they serve. In any line of work does not matter if you dig ditches or police a city toilet neighborhood respect shows and you can tell who deserves yours. No way in hell am I one of RFs anti LEO but a profane word chosen & used in a particular context can be appropriate. As in the last sentence however f*** over & over and daily use destroys any value when needed.

          See Lenny Bruces act or early Richard Pryor. Bruce de-senseitized people to n****r, Pryor to f***. The words became commonplace & mesningless.
          Notice in latet Pryor comedy he started to use profane or race more surgically.
          Cuss away but it shows a lack of respect all around. Pick & choose when to say certain words.

        • Bruce de-senseitized people to n****r, Pryor to f***. The words became commonplace & meaningless.

          I disagree. Those words are neither meaningless nor commonplace, and to use them will get you thrown out of almost any establishment, fired from your job, or even arrested depending on where you are or who you are saying those words to.

        • Let me clarify a bit they desenseitized the groups that they were aimed at. Which is why they are commonplace & accepted as normal verbal discourse. It became even more so when the rappers came about. Over the years heard less than a dozen “songs?” that don’t have mother f, n***, or similar. It goes to prove they have no respect for anyone or anything a decent lawful society stands for. They aren’t intetested in protecting civil ot human rights, just posting on the net & filing suit for the majority of them.

        • It goes to prove they have no respect for anyone or anything a decent lawful society stands for.

          I agree with this.

        • Fuck is used as a adjective and noun for the younger generations. Some of you guys on here are showing your age.

        • If you somehow think I am hanging out every day with drug addicts in the midst of money laundering tattoo parlors… no.

          I am talking about middle classed, white washed, white collar America.

          Seriously – some of you guys either live in churches or old folks homes. If you don’t believe me, just go watch a few random youtube channels.

          Languages change – that’s what they do. “Fuck”‘s been a verbal bridge and part of the standard language in England for some time now among the younger generations. It’s taken about 10 years longer to take the same place in the US.

          As for whether it’s professional or not – perceptions change.

          Last year on a business trip to CA I had a meeting with a very knowledgeable and influential director who was wearing a t-shirt and cursed like a sailor.

          Sorry old people – it’s not your country nor your world anymore.

        • Sorry old people – it’s not your country nor your world anymore.

          There have always been people who swore, it’s nothing new to this generation. As has been pointed out, there was Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor and Howard Stern, and I’m told Betty White is a ribald old lady off the air. But those people have always been on the fringes of society and not mainstream, not accepted in polite society. But I agree, things are getting worse. Just look around you. It’s sad.

        • Personally, I don’t think that people using curse worlds make the world a worse or better place.

          I actually think that placing so much meaning behind words that pretty much either describe genitalia or sex acts is kind of silly. It’s very old fashioned.

          As for morality, that is a relative sort of thing too. One person’s bad may be another person’s good.

          I personally don’t believe the world is any better or worse than it was hundred’s of years ago. People are people. I think certain behaviors or acts get more attention now that we are so connected, but as the Bible says, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

          The older generations have been preaching gloom and doom for the entire time that human beings have existed. Hell, 60 years ago older people were convinced the world was going to end because of Elvis Presley.

          Just my .02.

        • Personally, I don’t think that people using curse worlds make the world a worse or better place…As for morality, that is a relative sort of thing too.

          Really? This is all just moral relativism?

        • ^ This type of behavior has always existed at every point in human history.

          Do I find it deplorable? Yes.

          Does everyone? Obviously not.

    • Well, there was a death threat with a gun. Then again, if you talk to a car full of a$$holes like you’re Mr. Rodgers, it ain’t going to work. I’m professional to professionals. If I need to speak dirtbag, I can if I need to.

      Now, the stop being excessive force might have been another thing entirely.

      • Well, there was a death threat with a gun. Then again, if you talk to a car full of a$$holes like you’re Mr. Rodgers, it ain’t going to work. I’m professional to professionals. If I need to speak dirtbag, I can if I need to.

        Now, the stop being excessive force might have been another thing entirely.

        I can see where you are coming from. However, if it is against the law for me to swear in public and I swear – the cops shouldn’t feel justified to swear. Suppose you go to the car full of foul mouthed people and they are shouting and swearing (disorderly conduct if law implemented). I don’t see any problem to go with the Mr. Rodgers routine. If they don’t cooperate and by law are required to (such as stepping out of the vehicle, handing over their license, registration, proof on insurance, etc). Then you simply step up to the next required action.

  6. Strong language and threats of the truth like ‘I’m going to kill you if you don’t show your hands/stop fighting” etc, often times de-escalates a possible lethal force encounter/violent encounter to a more compliant non violent arrest or detention.

    Anyone who disagrees simply knows nothing about police work or encountering violent felons that would choose to kill you if they had half a chance.

    I have used that language plenty of times because I find it is better to speak bluntly and have them believe you and choose not to do something to get themselves shot and killed (like not reaching for a gun etc.) rather than to speak calmly and ‘professionally’ and have them think they may have the drop on you and try something stupid.

    Language like that literally saves lives. Usually the armed suspects’ lives.

    Again, anyone who disagrees simply knows nothing about encountering violent felons who don’t want to go back to prison.

    I believe I should use any words I can think of to get them to comply before using deadly force on a person.

    • I’m pretty sure one can speak authoritatively with command and intimidation in one’s voice without swearing. Sure some criminals respond to vulgar language but there people in those communities who view the police as not much better because of their conduct and demeanor.

      • How “pretty sure” is sure enough when you’re at the point where you’re drawing down on someone and getting ready to end their life if they don’t comply?

        I would rather take the risk that someone thinks I’ve got a foul mouth than have to put someone in the ground, but maybe that’s just me.

    • Bobby:
      Do you save that for specific situations, or do you often find yourself issuing ‘fighting words’ to people who turn out to be non-offenders?

      As somebody who has never given an LEO a lawful cause to exert physical force upon me, here’s how I see it:

      Anybody talks to me like that, they’ve just succeeded in making me angry with them. Not pleasant, but no real problem if they aren’t physically threatening to murder me. As long as they’re fine with getting zero cooperation or respect, and maybe a ‘bite me’ in exchange for acting like that, we’re still OK with each other. I will probably demand to see your ID before acting as if it’s at all possible you have authority as a deputized agent of government. (I live in a state where the law requires you to identify, but where virtually no LEOs believe in that law)

      They talk to me like that with a gun in their hand, and I know that I’m going to die if I don’t kill them first, and I will do everything in my power to make sure I outlive them.

      • Of course I reserve that language for the most escalated situations that happen in a split second.

        Of course I don’t cuss at normal citizens in every day situations…. come on now.

        I would think that would go without saying.

        I was describing certain circumstances in which strong language is an absolute asset in resolving a situation without physical/deadly force.

    • You may feel it’s necessary, but here’s something I witnessed that has stayed with me as example of how a real professional does his business. When I lived and worked in downtown Jersey City, NJ one of our regular beat cops, Mike (don’t remember his last name), a man of just average stature and build, was escorting me to the night deposit drop at the bank nearby. While walking over we witnessed a street fight taking place just a few doors away, with a fairly large crowd watching. Mike calmly walked over to the combatants (since he was alone I offered to help but he told me to stay put) and in a firm but calm way defused the situation and sent them on their way. People in the crowd came over to Mike to shake his hand and thank him for the manner in which he handled the situation. That was the most incredible display of professionalism in a stressful situation that I have ever witnessed. No screaming, no cursing, no threats of imminent violence. Just a calm, competent, and confident professional.

      • “one of our regular beat cops, Mike”

        That’s actually a very key part of this story. Regular beat cop means “known” or at the very least…not completely UNKNOWN.

        That you knew his first name is telling, too. It’s a lot hard to define “the other” when on a first name basis. That goes both ways in all dimensions. The community toward the cops, the cops toward the community, etc.

        Bring back beat cops, please.

        • Bring back beat cops! Please!

          THAT is REAL police work, not cruising in your batmobile or rolling up all geared up in an MRAP at the last minute.

        • I suggested to a newly hired chief level officer under 30 that we walk around the business area & introduce him. “Man thats just. stupid, walk?” exact reply I got.i had no input on his hiring other than re-advertise the opening. He just works cheaper than the seasoned mannered officer that was going to be hired.

          With the economy today & businesses going under it boils down too
          YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
          Hi-Point & Beretta are both gun brands but day in-day out which is more reliable. Citizens don’t want tax hikes but to get more & better workers you have to pay.

        • When you say ‘beat cops’ or ‘neighborhood policing’, I think ‘peace officer’.
          The internet video world has proven that, at least in the major metro areas, we need more peace officers and fewer enforcers.

    • Strong language and threats of the truth like ‘I’m going to kill you if you don’t show your hands/stop fighting” etc, often times de-escalates a possible lethal force encounter/violent encounter to a more compliant non violent arrest or detention.

      Anyone who disagrees simply knows nothing about police work or encountering violent felons that would choose to kill you if they had half a chance.

      It may temporarily deescalate the issue. But I guarantee the behavior and the threat leave a mark on them. They won’t forget. They will stereotype cops as over-rambunctious authoritative thugs. They will remember that particular officer. If they are especially violent or later in a drug induced craze, they may even take the time to track that officer down.

      Treat people with respect and they will respect you. If you hold yourself to exceptional behavior and principle while dealing with crooks and thugs, you’ll get more respect from those around you and even more respect from some crooks and thugs.

  7. I consider intimidation tactics to be unprofessional. The weapon itself should be enough.
    Obviously, concealed carriers and cops are supposed to de-escalate the situation before drawing a firearm, but police seem to have a hard time talking to unarmed citizens who have no signs of being violent without their handgun drawn.

  8. I’d a lot rather put a recording on in front of a jury where the officer doesn’t swear. It makes the officer appear much more professional and credible.

    If the officer sounds like a foul-mouthed jerk it makes one wonder if there is some sort of back story wherein the officer provoked the situation before the recording started.

  9. During a period of introspection over police behavior in Portland, Oregon, it was reported in the local media that Portland police offers were trained to use foul language as a means of gaining dominance over people on the street. As I recall some people were not happy with that and there was some indication that the training might change.

  10. No, they shouldn’t. I guess it just shows whst kind of people they hire. I don’t know many cops, just two. Neither of them swear, and one is SWAT.

    • I personally know one guy who was SWAT. He’s a church deacon, outwardly very religious, and would never curse off duty. Try as I might, I can’t project the off duty person I know onto the on duty person I never met. For all I know he was the type of cop to scream obscenities at a presumed perp as a regular means of conducting police business. Or maybe his lips have never passed a foul word. Or, more likely, somewhere in between.

    • Have you ever seen them on duty in the sort of situation above? If not, you have no idea if they swear or not. I know some people who are cool as a cucumber and talk like a minister until they meet the wrong person and then they’ll sound like a sailor for a minute.

  11. Professionalism is primary but, certain people you deal with have NO comprehension of english. You have to use shut the f-up or get your a$$ out of the car. If you say sir step out of the car or please stop talking they do not understand. White & Black some only understand ebonics if you
    ax them too do something.

    Not trying to be racist but a fact. Also a younger black kid is more likely to be afraid of Grandma than Mom.

    If you see a cop swearing & giving the same command over & over they are a scared cornered person. Dangerous & need more field training or a new job.

  12. “I’ve seen a large number of police videos where peace officers draw their guns and then use obscene language to control suspected perps and other peeps.”

    I think you have described the definition of ‘not a peace officer’. In my opinion, ‘peace officer’ is a subset of ‘police’, ‘LEOs’, or ‘cops’. Some might say a vanishing subset. The peace officer is the guy who thinks his job is to attempt to maintain peace in the neighborhood he patrols. That might include applying controlled violence to somebody who already disrupted that peace, but it doesn’t include being the one who disrupts the peace.

  13. It’s not the language that would upset me. If all a cop was doing was swearing at me, I’d find it hard not to laugh out loud. It’s when the guns come out that the sh!t turns serious.

    I would rather have a whole platoon of cops swearing at me than have one cop ordering me at gunpoint to not move, show him my hands and lay down on the ground all at the same time, and then popping me seventeen times for not being able to do three contradictory tasks at once.

    The purpose behind cops swearing is intimidation. And just in case we’re not all that intimidated, the purpose behind barking contradictory orders is so that they can shoot us for disobeying.

  14. My instructor for my Missouri CCW many years ago was a retired FBI agent and he had a vast wealth of advice, especially on the legal side of things (Rule 1: Never go to Illinois)… He said criminals used profanity like punctuation and would often not respond to commands unless cursed at. His advice though was also never hold an assailant at gunpoint; move, draw, shoot, assess. “Drop your f*king weapon!” etc were commands that police would use, not someone in a self defense situation.

    Lucky bastard, his office was at the Murray building but was out on assignment when the bombing happened.

  15. Swearing is a symptom of fear and a tool of intimidation, as if a loaded gun inches from you head isn’t intimidating enough. In some circles profanity would be categorized as “Fightin’ words”

    • I was trained by older cops from a better mannered era. My voice gets lower calmer & more controlled. Majority of cops on the street today are under 40 & raised on MTV, nintendo & see nothing wrong with profanity. Goes back to parent(s) bring up a kid with manners & respect for others and thereselves.

      • I agree. It’s not just the police. Respect for things other than yourself is interpreted as a weakness and unmanly. I view it as just the opposite. It takes self confidence and strength to acknowledge worth in others.

  16. when an officer is engaging in a civil interaction with a law abiding, or otherwise non-confrontational person, profanity is unprofessional and unnecessary. however, when an officer is engaging with a person whose actions have necessitated the officer drawing a firearm to gain compliance, the basic dog psychology of barking loudly and overwhelming the the suspect to the point of complicity with instructions is acceptable. at least thats what i think.

  17. It’s actually kind of funny. If you swear at a cop they “can” arrest you, but nothing happens when they do. However as noted they are usually already arresting you.

  18. As an attorney who represents police officers, as well as being a former police officer who, among other tasks, trained numerous police academy graduates who were then going through their field training programs, my experience suggests that, although it is not always appropriate for a police officer to use obscene language when attempting to make arrests, there are circumstances when such language — properly employed — is a legitimate and productive tool which can be used to de-esclate a situation. Let me explain:

    First, I am not referring to any type of language that could reasonably be interpreted as racist. That type of language is likely only to escalate, not de-escalate, a situation,

    Next, I also am not talking about using obscene language in situations and with individuals who will respond appropriately to polite requests, or even to forceful requests made in a non-obscene manner.

    However, the types of people that police officers often deal with are not always the types that respect authority and who will respond appropriately to instructions or commands.

    In other words, obscene language may be the only type of language that some individuals will understand and respond to in an appropriate way.

    We must not lose sight of the fact that the job of police officers is to enforce the law, against the will of suspects or defendants, if necessary. Police officers are allowed to use force to enforce the law, and are trained — as they should be — to use the least amount of force necessary to accomplish that task.

    Verbal commands — be they obscene or not — are part of the force continuum. As shocking as it may be to hear a police officer use obscene language when telling someone to drop a gun, to stop resisting, or to otherwise comply with the officer’s commands, such language is still preferable to an escalation in the amount of force necessary to obtain a suspect or defendant’s compliance.

    In other words, it is preferable to have an officer curse at someone, rather than to have the officer shoot that person (or use other types of physical force), in order to make the arrest.

    • “In other words, obscene language may be the only type of language that some individuals will understand and respond to in an appropriate way.”

      Translation: obscene language makes a cop’s job easier … to Hell with the fact that it violates community standards and obscenity laws and imparts emotional scars on children.

      And this idea that suspects are not interested in complying until police officers use obscene language … give me a break. I can just see the thinking process in a criminal’s mind …
      police: freeze!!!
      criminal thinking: go screw yourself
      police: I said freeze a$$hole!!!
      criminal thinking: now that is scary, I am going to freeze
      police: put your hands up!!!
      criminal: I don’t put my hands up for girly men.
      police: I said put your fvcking hands up!!!
      criminal: wow, that was intimidating … I am going to put my hands up

      So does this mean no one has to be armed in public anymore? After all, if a criminal pops out, points a knife or gun at me, and demands my wallet/purse … all I have to do is yell, “I’m going to kill you motherfvcker!!!” At which point, the criminal — overwhelmed with fear at my use of obscene language — is going to flee immediately, right?

      I put the effectiveness of obscene language right up there with no-guns signs.

      • So if a criminal pops out, points a knife or gun, and demands my wallet/purse … all I have to do is send them a harshly worded tweet. That’s the ticket!

    • @Manasseh Lapin, I can’t disagree with your conclusion that harsh language is better than gunfire, but I disagree with the premise.

      Stating that “the types of people that police officers often deal with are not always the types that respect authority and who will respond appropriately to instructions or commands” presupposes that the police will will only use such language when dealing with those bad people.

      That’s a tough argument to make when we know that police are not necessarily judicious when employing their weapons. Innocent or otherwise harmless people are shot, kicked, punched, bludgeoned and “tased” by police. Are we to expect that cops will hold their tongues when they cannot seem to hold their fire?

      I don’t think so.

      • I think that we’ve seen in above comments that cursing out a suspect indicates that the cop has either lost or is on the brink of losing control of the situation. Not a good situation, and a pretty good indicator to use hearing protection REAL SOON.

  19. In dealing with public, or even low impact operations, speeding tickets, or simple arrests, I think they should try to maintain a professional demeanor whenever possible. But that’s not to say they should mind their curses when drawing a front sight picture on someone. For me it’s all situational, but for the most part try to keep it clean.

  20. Swearing is unprofessional. Period. But, relatively speaking, it’s more professional than pointing a firearm at an innocent bystander and threatening to kill them. My guess is that the unfortunate taxpayers of this cop’s jurisdiction will be handing out a large sum of their hard earned cash while this cop gets a extra month of paid vacation.

    • Or it is about expressing emotion and/or frustration through a taboo and intimidating wordset.

      Just look at Samuel L. Jackson, he uses the word “motherf*****” like an artist uses a brush or a photographer a camera. Different tones set the mood while the word itself reminds us that the situation/person or object described is serious.

      Yes, I am one of those artsy types. Never liked it to be honest.

  21. One note:
    In the responses to this article some have said the police are different and should be held to a higher standard. They should.
    My problem is in other articles the respondents have stated that cops are no different and shouldnt have any equipment that citizens don’t.
    Which is it? Different? Not different?

    As far as using profanity…
    Cops shouldn’t but they do and will and there is no way around it. It’s a stress response. Who reading this has never hit their thumb with a hammer or some such sudden stressor and not yelled S**T! or some other profanity?
    Look at videos of soldiers in combat. Profanity laced tirades at the enemy. Its a human thing.

    And…will someone tell me the exact law that says i can arrest someone for merely cussing at me?Just using profanity isn’t disorderly conduct in my area.

    • Just my opinion, but my issue isn’t so much that cops should be held to a higher standard (although I think they should) but that cops are usually held to a lower standard. If a non-LEO drew his weapon on someone and threatened to kill him he’d be arrested, tried, convicted and incarcerated for assault with a deadly weapon. But if this cop had actually carried through with his threat he probably wouldn’t be punished with anything more than an extra month of paid vacation.

      As far as equipment, the only things I begrudge cops is fully automatic weapons and MRAPs because they are highly inappropriate tools for the job cops are asked to do. Cops have no business spraying the neighborhood with bullets, and what good is the MRAP going to do when it’s parked 10 miles away at the station. I don’t have a problem with 3 shot bust select fire weapons and I certainly wouldn’t oppose providing squad cars with armor.

      And swearing is evidence of a lack of self control. Even if you did just hit your thumb with a hammer (which I have done without swearing).

    • Pat, I’m not a huge fan of yours but I have enough respect for you to admit that you’re certainly not an idiot. You’ve also been around long enough to know that a lot of arbitrary sh1t can qualify as DTP. In my municipality we recently had an individual who was detained for DTP after dropping an F bomb. At that point an argument with the local PD ensued which resulted in the aforementioned individual also being charged with obstruction of justice and resisting. He also got tased twice for his trouble, once in cuffs and in the prone iirc.

      Fact is; profanity IS a discretionary arrestable offense in some places, especially here in the South. I’ve no doubt that many jurisdictions around and near yours have similar laws on the books. If you really want to play the feigned disbelief card, though, I could find it in our PC for you.

      • Matt,
        Im sure there are laws in some places, but at least in GA simply cussing is not against the law. Doing so in front of children is. Doing so and causing a visible disturbance is. Cussing at a cop is not. Happens every day. We are actually taught to deescalate when it happens. Its called Verbal Judo and all cops are required to take it.
        I have seen arrests here that were thrown out because the offense charged didn’t meet the standard of the law. That is wrong in every sense of the word. If you cant handle a few cuss words, you dont need to be a cop.

    • “Just using profanity isn’t disorderly conduct in my area.”

      It was where I worked, if it was said where it could be heard by anyone in public.

      For example, if you whispered it in my ear, no PDC. Yell it at me (or anyone else) while standing on your front lawn so that people on the public road right-of-way, and yes.

      Unfortunately, this also made it somewhat subjective and open to interpretation.

      The disorderly conduct and similar community standards laws are, by definition, going to be very local dependent.

    • “Who reading this has never hit their thumb with a hammer or some such sudden stressor and not yelled S**T! or some other profanity?”

      Funny story about this. I was doing some work at my church with the retired-LEO-turned-pastor. Someone flipped the breaker on for the light that I was replacing, and the colorful sparks were well outdone by the colorful language.

  22. For a time, I talked to angry people for a living. Literally. I worked the “escalations desk” in a call center and talked to anyone who was too belligerent or had too major of an issue to be dealt with by a regular CSR. I did that for 50 hours a week.

    I PROMISE, getting angry, raising your voice, or cursing only fans the flames. There is no wannabe, gangster, or true thug in the world who is going to get cowed by the fact the you used the F word. You must BE in control, as opposed to trying to “take” control. Remaining calm, speaking with enough force and volume to be authoritative, and being 100% confident in what you are saying will stop an angry person in their tracks almost every time.

    I imagine a forceful and confident, “If you do not stop, sir, I WILL shoot you in the head.” Would be vastly more effective than the voice-cracking, shrieked “GET THE F*** DOWN BEFORE I BLOW YOUR F****** HEAD OFF” that seems to come from so many dash/body/cell phone cams.

    Also, in non-violent encounters… you’re still serving a customer, just like every other service professional in the world. Act like it (I believe most do, for the record.)

    • Your cubicle does not equal real world experience dealing with people who can physically assault you and whom you may need to shoot.

      I have seen a judicious use of profanity shut down a suspect who was getting more and more agitated. I don’t know if it’s the way they’re raised, but some of these people just get more and more aggressive when they’re spoken to politely but get the message when you speak their language.

      • Predictable response. You’re right, it’s not the same situation, obviously, but it is a principle I’ve seen definitively proven in real life, tens of thousands of times. And I’ve seen the negative, escalating, cursing, screaming side fail at least hundreds of times. That’s probably more 0s in my “test size” number than the total experience base of most people commenting.

        Also, there is a huge difference in a “polite” presence and a “command and control” presence. One is based on request, the other is not. One provokes thinking, one provokes immediate action. Screamed profanity does neither (in the vast majority of cases at least), it communicates fear, stress and a lack of control. All understandable, but none of what you want to be projecting in a deadly force encounter.

        • It’s a predictable response because your experiment compares apples to oranges, and so your conclusion is fundamentally flawed; the stress of getting called names over the phone doesn’t come close to the stress of having your safety threatened by someone in your immediate vicinity, which is about as “duh” as it gets.

        • And how does that change anything? Yes, it is a much higher stress situation, obviously (as I’ve already stated). What does that have to do with drawing conclusions about human makeup and de-escalation? As far as I know, RF has never killed anyone nor been killed by anyone with a firearm, and yet we regularly take his advice on shootings. To say that you can’t draw conclusions from anything outside the very narrow range of situations we specifically plan for is just silly on the face of it. “Training is worthless because it’s not real bullets!” “Learning that people respond instantly and submissively to a Command Voice is worthless because it’s not real bullets!”

          More stress? Yes. But that’s why we train ourselves, so we can react properly and de-escalate rather than freak out and escalate a situation by screaming and cursing at a not-as-yet-deadly threat, even in the face of intense stress.

      • “… some of these people just get more and more aggressive when they’re spoken to politely but get the message when you speak their language.”

        Again, your justification is that you believe shouting obscenities at suspects makes your job easier or safer. Arresting suspects without probable cause makes your job easier and safer as well. So does searching a suspects possessions without a search warrant. Of course shooing every suspect with a taser or your handgun makes your job easer and safer as well. And why not plant evidence to guarantee a suspect’s conviction? Why not do all of those?

        I will say it again. If you do not want to perform your job within the same confines of the law as everyone else, get a different job.

  23. No they should not. It is not professional and they should be subjected to disciplinary actions if they are found to be doing so. I have some knowledge on this topic in that I spent the first half of my working life in law enforcement. I have been an Army MP, a Deputy Sheriff and Corrections Officer.

  24. If you find evaluating police conduct so contemptuous and out of hand here, what pleasure do you derive from your visits? And BTW, I am often wrong but I find TTAG to be fairly under commercialized for a sight that compensates, as it should, those who “work” at presenting information. I don’t suppose you work for the joy of work alone.

    • I’m not sure if you’re replying to me or not, but if you are, I suppose the reason I come here is because sometimes there’s cool articles about guns. I understand that in most countries police carry guns, and I don’t mind reading articles about the police, however critical, but sometimes it feels like this site should be called “The Truth About Cops” instead.

      • “sometimes it feels like this site should be called “The Truth About Cops” instead.” So, your point is no one should criticize cops because,,,,,,,,,,,? No one should report on cops f**king up? Really? Perhaps you should stick to nra.whatever so your tender sensibilities are not further damaged.

  25. As I teach my kids not to swear (beyond the moral rational) I tell them there is a real psychology behind not swearing. If you can’t swear, or resist swearing, you simply cannot get as enraged, you remain in control of your sensibilities. When you swear you give yourself over to the emotion or to the situation, instead of remaining in control over your emotions. Not swearing allows you to retain a sense of judgement OVER the situation instead of allowing your emotions to rule amidst the situation.

    Cops – or anyone in control of a firearm – should not be allowed to swear; they should remain in control over every single aspect of their faculties and should NOT give quarter to their emotions, to allow their emotions to influence their actions.

  26. RF,
    Please, please, please never use “peeps” in an article again. It is what I consider “textspeak” and difficult to take seriously. You may as well use OMG, UR, Cali and other such nonsense…

    • But, once he’s swearing at you, if you pause for two seconds to reflect upon how you might have f-ed up, you run the risk of getting further escalated upon for disobeying orders.

  27. SHOULD a cop’s use of language be held to a higher standard in their professional duties? Yeah, probably. I think cops in their day-to-day duties are generally obligated to be civil to everyone, even to those they have to put cuffs on. But let’s be real here. I don’t want them cussing out some grandma at a random traffic stop for the purposes of intimidation, but if a cop uses some colorful language while apprehending a hoodrat that pulled a gun or knife on him/her I’m not gonna lose sleep over it.

  28. In stressful times it is easy to revert to swearing. But, I would think that somewhere in the back of all criminal minds is the obedience to authority gene. If you lower yourself to their level, there may not be much hesitation to shoot another criminal sounding person. But if the criminal has a split second during his fight or flight time. He may yield to authority.

  29. There is a time and a place for every word. Words didn’t pop up out of nowhere and magically have power and meaning. They mean things because we want them to mean things. As a result, words are relative and don’t have a single fixed meaning. Really, there are two primary meanings to any word or phrase: the meaning intended by the speaker and the meaning received by a listener. Sometimes, these meanings are similar, and sometimes they are not.

    A substantial part of being an effective communicator is being able to express your meaning in a way that the listener will receive correctly.

    If Officer A is talking to Mr. Freeman about why he needs to stop jaywalking on his way to work and says, “Ya gotta stop fuckin’ doin’ this bro,” that would be inappropriate. It would still be inappropriate without the F word because the tone and voice does not fit with the person receiving the communication. Saying, “Sir, jaywalking is unsafe and causes a potential road hazard. I’ve seen a number of accidents happen as a result of jaywalking. I need you to stop doing this.” is more effective communication because Mr. Freeman is more likely to receive the officer’s intended meaning and act upon it.

    If Officer A goes and talks to Little Thug and says, “Sir, please stop jaywalking. It isn’t safe,” Little Thug is going to laugh, walk away, and brag about it to his buddies later. The cop was polite and professional, but he wasn’t communicating effectively, and because of it, was not doing his job. His job is to prevent dangerous things from happening and to uphold the law. If he’s polite but fails to do those things, he’s an ineffective and bad police officer.

    So, if he stops Little Thug and threatens him by saying, “If you don’t fucking stop wasting my time by jaywalking, I’ll beat your ass and leave you in lock up,” and it works, then the officer has done his job by stopping the negative behavior and preventing a dangerous situation.

    • Ummm.. no. Like the poster above, I’ve had the opportunity to work in a call-center, helping straighten out issues with people who *felt* they were “wronged” by my company. About 80% of the time, the customer didn’t read the instructions & worked themselves into a lather before I ever came on the phone.

      These folks said a lot of things that no sane person would ever say in person, simply because you would end up spitting up teeth if you did. Cursing was (and is) the universal sign that the brain has left the building.

      There are also “trigger phrases” that slip out naturally when you curse – things like ,” that’s not my job”, “you’re not listening to me” – officer “go fuck yourself” in Ferguson is a perfect example! Look for the youtube video of him and tell me he was “controlling the situation” – he wasn’t controlling the situation or himself – he got rattled, and started saying things that inflammed the situation.

      I don’t expect peace officers to be as good as I am at diffusing situations (talking to 80 pissed off people a day, every day, for a decade – gives me a unique perspective on “trigger words” & how they work).

      The “verbal judo” class some officers take sounds like a start, but I wholeheartedly doubt there’s anything in that class that says “Throw in a motherfarker” to de-escalate things”.

      If your tongue is out-of-control & you’re pointing a gun at me, I’m looking for a way out of the situation – be it running, disarming you or resisting in any way possible. You’ve lost my trust, and I’m *not* going anywhere with people I don’t trust. That’s a reaction from a citizen who’s never been arrested & has a cleaner background check that at least 3 of the past 3 presidents.

  30. Great question, from personal experience, I have found the use of profanity to be counter productive in the long run. This is now especially true with the proliferation of cameras among the general public. It has little effect upon a suspect who is immune to such verbal abuse but adds to the general public’s perception that the police are little more than armed thugs themselves. While it has little effect in the prosecution of low level criminals, such language when introduced to a jury, can gain sympathy for the person being prosecuted and lead to an acquittal or a reduced sentence.

    Being a police officer is a tough job and the constant exposure to some of the meanest lowlife on the planet can quickly lead to an “us against the wold” attitude. The real trick is finding some form of release which allows for the constant abuse and pent up hostilities to be vented before they are confronted with an even more emotionally charge situation. Bottom line, what a man says is often what is felt in his heart.

  31. “Verbal commands — be they obscene or not — are part of the force continuum. . .”

    Thank you for identifying the crux of the problem, Manasseh. The idea behind maintaining a “force continuum” presumes a level of verbal and social skills that no amount of training can impart to the progressively lower quality of LEOs coming into police work. If you have a cop who didn’t graduate high school, isn’t well spoken, lacks self-confidence, and may have never written (or even understood) a compound sentence let read a book all the way through, it is nigh on to impossible to teach the level of interaction skills that sophisticated ideas like force continuum presume to be in place. When you’ve got somebody who is anti-intellectual by virtue of never having encountered many complex ideas, it just ain’t gonna happen. Cities like Austin and others around the country have, in recent years, progressively lowered their employment standards and so it is entirely possible to come in contact with an LEO exactly like the guy I’ve just described. The obvious solution is to start employing officers with the intelligence and education to understand sophisticated police techniques. “Force continuum” makes a great topic in a course syllibus but when you’ve got students who have trouble with big words and abstract concepts, you’ve got a serious problem. Been there, done that.

    • Don’t forget that an AA degree in “Criminal Justice” adds very little to the officer’s high school diploma. Just a 2 year opportunity to build bad attitudes withOUT a training officer’s supervision.

  32. PEACE officers should behave with at least some modicum of respect for the public at large. That means keeping foul language at bay as well as treating normal people with respect and decency. To be fair, if more people did this there’d probably be a lot less crime to begin with…

  33. If the Police Officer is a professional he never needs to swear. Absolutely unprofessional behavior. Cursing shows two things. One you are not in control of the situation. Two you are an uneducated because you can’t use or don’t have a large vocabulary. If someone is paying me I am a professional. I’m not a saint by any means though off the clock I swear like a sailor with friends and family.

  34. Anyone that has worked in the hood knows that some people only respond to that kind of language. Whether cops should or should not swear should be evaluated on a case by case basis.

    • Yeah, Like how the hoods gonna understand you if you don’t refer to stuff as, Motha fugging this, and motha fugging that!

  35. Hmmm…I had a cop swear at me for going the wrong way on an unmarked one-way street. I wanted to kill the 20 something a##hole. Not your homie, not your brah , not your dude. Maybe in the s#it neighborhood I was in it’s OK. But not to THIS OFWG. YMMV.

  36. Wow. When I came here I was interested in guns. Not the fact you hate the police and your tin foil hat is too tight. Profanity is illegal. Great information

  37. You gotta love police chief Katz’s justification for all of this:

    “When I watch this video, I don’t see a car full of young men who are behaving in a manner consistent with fear of the police.”

    Get that, folks? If you don’t show the proper amount of fear when you see the fuzz, you’re subject to verbal abuse, assault, battery, property destruction, unlawful arrest and death threats.

    • “verbal abuse”

      There was no verbal abuse, the cops were just speaking in a language the kids were familiar and obviously comfortable with.

  38. My father always told me that using profanity makes you appear unintelligent, as in you couldn’t come up with a better word to express yourself with. He also told me it was OK to drop a few f-bombs after injuring yourself with a power tool. So I generally only swear in my garage or basement, and probably wouldn’t if I was involved in a DGU.

  39. There is a need to de-escalate in some situations, and a need to assume control ASAP in others. I know my attention is quickly drawn to a certain tone, volume, or vocabulary. Also, a direct threat may bring home the seriousness of the moment to a subject and leave them feeling failure to comply is not an option. The use of colorful language may enhance the desired effect. Again, this would be in appropriate circumstances where control in needed.

  40. Working around lawyers, I have discovered that every word said and how it is said has an implied meaning. One of the reasons you should have a lawyer present during questioning by the government is so that the way you say something does not imply a meaning you did not intend in court. I am pretty sure that as more encounters with police are recorded on video, police will be forced to control their language. Regardless of the reason police use profanity, when those videos are shown in court, juries will respond negatively to them.

      • Danny Griffin – Is that the same cop that while pointing AR 15/ M16 at citizens and yelling ” I will fucking kill you”?

      • I think they put him on desk duty and then his chief (St Louis County IIRC) released a statement to the press totally supporting his actions. I assume he’s out and about with his badge and gun again.

        Most of the accusations of inappropriate behavior in post Michael Brown Ferguson are not being made about Ferguson PD itself, but rather the county and neighboring towns.

      • Actually, the cop that was fired got fired for “an objectionable comment” posted on facebook. Had he said the same directly to protestors he most likely would not have been fired.

        • I know there were several videos of cops swearing at the protesters. In one, a white cop was taunting blacks saying, “Bring it, you f***ing animals! Bring it!”

        • Only one, so far, to get fired was the one commenting on FB. Will others be fired? If Holder has his way, yes.

  41. But on a serious note. I see no purpose served by cussing at and drawing on a people that at obviously not bad guys. Thats terrorism if I ever seen it. Acting in that unprofessional manner only cements their perceived role as the lowest rung of the new nobility.

  42. TTAG is rapidly becoming more one of those Illuminati conspiracy-theory Rosicrucian gubmint thug PO-lice BREWtality Con’stushunal Vi-O-lashun sites than one with The Truth About Guns. If I was interested in such crap, there’s always StormFront. This particular article is just plain ridiculous; I don’t care if cops swear unless they’re swearing at Grandma and the Kiddies at the ice-cream parlour, I don’t care if they don’t change their underclothes every day, I don’t care if they get to speed when going to a call and I don’t get to do it going to the 7-11 for a Slurpee, and I’m not deeply concerned that they don’t get crucified for using lawful force such as pointing guns at people, which they are allowed to DO if the circumstance justifies it, fer crissake, and I would be. Or maybe not. . . justification is justification.

    If you Sovereign Citizen Make My Own Damn’ License Plates I Don’t NEED No Stinkin’ Government Driver’s License types don’t like cops and gubmint, go someplace where there are neither. I hear Libya is nice in the fall.

    I used to like this place; Now it’s All Cop Bashing All The Time, and has attracted every misfit anti-gubmint, anti-POlice type with an axe to grind that wants to rail about how his sister’s second cousin’s uncle’s close friend’s bartender’s swamper was once stopped by a cop fer nuthin’ and gotted swored at which bruised his psyche sumfin’ AWful. And the cop hadn’t shaved recently, either.

    Get a grip.

    • To some people, a calm discussion of the actions of our ‘civil servants’ is considered full time cop bashing.
      I call those people copsuckers. If you want round the clock cop-worshipping, I suggest you redirect your browser to
      http://www.policeone.com/ (but I must warn you, sometimes they resort to what you’d call cop-bashing when one of their own steps too far out of line)

      • But then he wouldn’t be able to spread about his righteous outrage and disagreement with the flavor of the free ice cream here.

  43. It is rumored that British Bobbies managed to control their beat for decades without even a Webley to carry for (small) “intimidation”. Todays hoods and bros are tougher/scarier that the London toughs of the past?

  44. The police is a working class job mainly filled by working class guys, with working class educations and backgrounds. Nothing wrong with that.

    But, you have to understand that swearing is part and parcel. Go visit a construction job site. It’s also a general reflection of our less than genteel society these days.

    That’s not a real concern even though I would prefer less of it.

    What I don’t like to see are the death threats made against citizens in these videos, like it was routine.

    • “The police is a working class job mainly filled by working class guys, with working class educations and backgrounds. . .”. And they increasingly find themselves in challenging situations, as often as not being filmed by multiple sources, which are beyond their life experience’s skills-set. The linguist Basil Bernstein spoke about people having “elaborated and restricted” speech codes. People using restricted speech codes interpret social settings in more rudimentary ways than those with more elaborated speech codes. For LEOs, the consequence is a one-size-fits-all, profanity laced, force-continuum that’s about the best they can do. It isn’t good enough and no amount of remedial training is going to develop the kind of sophisticated social decoding that would allow them to do a better job dealing with the public. It takes years to develop those skills and they have to be institutionalized from the top and bottom. Earlier generations of police institutionalized levels of professionalism that are increasingly going away. This is not a good change.

    • Go visit a construction job site.

      I am an engineer and project manager. I hire the construction trades by the hundreds. I do not swear to them and they do not swear to me, or anyone else in my company (i.e., the customer). We expect a professional demeanor (work product and behavior) out of all of them, and we may kick them off the job site if they exhibit otherwise. I’m talking millwrights, iron workers, IBEW electricians, pipe fitters, etc. They may swear among themselves while they are on break or off the job, but not on the job. Although I have sat in cafeterias, etc. with them and do not hear wholesale swearing, either.

  45. In general no, but they should be able to retain the authorization to do so if the person they are dealing with has already gone there first and repeatedly. The reason is that strong language and communicating with someone on their level is sometimes the most effective tactic in select situations. With this “power” should come the responsibility and training to de-escalate when at all possible, and this tactic should be used as a last resort before force.

  46. I see swearing as escalating the situation. Which, their job is quite the opposite.

    I also agree with most comments saying its not professional. When someone is armed through the teeth, I’d expect nothing less than the most professional demeanor possible (goes for anyone with a firearm, not just police). Something about someone that aggressively swears every other word and them carrying a gun doesn’t sit right and even a bit scary to me.

  47. Danny Griffin I ask again – Is that the same cop that while pointing AR 15/ M16 at citizens and yelling ” I will fucking kill you”?
    I have been in construction for 40+ years with the last 20 as an inspector on residential, commercial and civil projects
    Your job sites have had a fucking Cafeteria?
    Where the fuck are you working?
    Ready to forward fucking resume!

    • Danny Griffin I ask again – Is that the same cop that while pointing AR 15/ M16 at citizens and yelling ” I will f***ing kill you”?

      There are many youtube videos of the police and the Ferguson protesters. I don’t remember the exact words that were said, but you can rewatch all the videos.

      Your job sites have had a Cafeteria? Where are you working?

      Most of them. I am responsible for building and retooling automotive plants in North America. I don’t build the buildings, I’m responsible for installing the equipment inside of them: robots, fluid fill equipment, automated guided vehicle systems, conveyors, etc. So unless it is a new plant being built on farm land, yes, there is an existing cafeteria in them.

  48. During the nine years I spent on a police department’s civil service commission, the biggest problem the Department had was weeding out quickly the bully boys who wanted to “feel the power” otherwise lacking in their lives. We tried to do it during the pre-employment interviews, the instructional period, and the probationary period. If we saw any tendency, they were gone from our suburb. But, alas, most found ready employment in the nearby Big City where such qualities were seen as desirable.

    • And, for example, my current poster child nominee for someone who probably shouldn’t be a cop, but is:

      “Did you see her collar fly off when I shot her? That was awesome,” Brown claims Woolly bragged to the responding animal control officer, who supposedly replied, “We’ll just write in the report that it tried to attack you and others in the neighborhood.”

      Sgt. Woolly has a checkered past with the department. Woolly’s name last year appeared in a complaint lodged by one of his fellow officers, who claimed he suffered “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” among other trauma, at the hands of the department. “

      • my current poster child nominee for someone who shouldn’t be a cop, but is:

        No surprise.

        “During the lawsuit proceedings, it was discovered officer Brice Woolly failed multiple psychological exams required to be a police officer. At some point, Woolly was allowed to join the ranks.”

  49. Professionals never lose their cool. If you can’t take the heat, get outta the kitchen. Otherwise you’ll end up outta the frying pan and into the fire. De-escalate and don’t let your ego inflate.

    • I’ve heard that described by combat vets as “coming apart”. It’s not at all unlike hysteria and combat vets know that when it happens under fire, it’s a good way for people to get killed. The military works hard at filtering these folks out or at least out of line units. Police forces, apparently not so much.

  50. No they shouldn’t. Because if I swore at them – they would arrest me on charges of “disturbing the peace.”

  51. That video is from my neighborhood.
    Im not at all surprised.
    Local PoPo are more afraid of the people then the people are of them.
    The locals here do some stupid stuff sometimes all day long.
    As I see the video the 2nd cop is just driving up as the 1st cop has the other guy on the ground.
    Cop 2 sees a person in the car.
    Has no idea what is going on and over reacts to the given situation.
    Normal for our local Gendarmes.
    React 1st figure it out a lot later.

  52. In North Carolina, while working for the department of correction, it is illegal to swear at those person whom are incarcerated. Check NC general statutes 148.

  53. IMO, police should not swear, because it comes across as unprofessional. It also can make people unsure of whether the people busting into their home are real police. Remember the SWAT officer (or was it FBI?) who came through the door swearing at the woman and got a gun pointed back at him. Luckily no shooting occurred, but the woman said she wasn’t sure it was a real cop because of all the swearing he did.

    Police should be the height of professionalism. So IMO they should not swear.

  54. Their language is irrelevant. It is their behavior that people should be coming down on. Far too many cops are power tripping, and THAT is what is pissing regular citizens off, and it is not going to end well for LEOs no matter which side of that issue they personally fall on.

  55. This is one of the stupidest posts I’ve seen on this blog.

    Complaining about police using military tactics that come close to or actually do infringe on the rights of citizens? Fine.

    Complaining about police not being held accountable for misconduct? Fine.

    Complaining about police officers swearing while under high stress? That’s just frickin’ stupid. Virtually everyone who suddenly finds themselves in a high-stress, dynamic situation will find that the Queen’s English and court manners have suddenly abandoned them, regardless of their job. Police officers get into high-stress situations more than most other professions.

    I am interested in where we are supposed to find all of the people to be police officers who can handle riots alone by the force of their charming charisma, wrestle 6′ 4″, 300-lb teenagers to the ground without breaking a nail, and confront people at gunpoint with a cheery “Excuse me, my good man, but I jolly well have a warrant for your arrest, wot?”, knowing full well that because one of the other 800,000 police officers in the country who aren’t Jedi Masters will be a jerk, everyone on the internet is going tell him how much better they could do his job.

    • This is one of the stupidest posts I’ve seen on this blog.

      Really? Then why do PDs have regulations against swearing?

  56. I asked a LEO acquaintance about this. This was his reply:

    “Swearing is specifically prohibited in my department. It’s written into our rules and regulations, and something that could technically lead to discipline and/or termination, although it’s pretty rare that someone gets fired over profanity, at worst it’s a day or two suspension, depending on which boss is in charge of the discipline case. I would imagine that most, if not all departments, have a similar rule or policy.”

    • Lots of employers have rules regarding language their employees are not to use on the job. Enforcing them is the trick.

      Instead of worrying about profanity people really should be much more concerned with their actions.

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