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When you become a police officer, you’re
going to work with other cops who spend
a lot of time trying to work around rules
or ignoring rules all together.  While the
vast majority of police officers will do
their best to work within your police
department’s framework of rules, there
will be two groups that will avoid rules on
a frequent basis.  The first group will be
lazy and incompetent people who would
be lazy and incompetent in any line of
work they might find themselves.  The
second group is anything but lazy;
however, their idea of competence is
predicated on what situations,
circumstances, or rules they believe to be
worthy of their time and attention.  
Taken to the extreme, this group typifies
the statement, “The end justifies the
means.”

Police television shows and movies
frequently embrace the theme of the
crusading “rules be damned” cop who
sneers at stupid rules while he or she
pursues truth and justice.  In movie land,
all the insubordination and carnage left in
the wake of Super Cop fades away from
scene to scene.  In the end, justice
prevails and Super Cop is vindicated.
Page 5
Police Television Shows
Past and Present
Page 5
by Barry M. Baker
In the real world of police work, the super
cop who routinely ignores rules has a
shelf life.  The length of that shelf life will
vary due to a lot of factors including just
being lucky.  In the real world, the
tolerance for Super Cop’s insubordination
will be limited.  As for any carnage…well,
that’s the real career killer.

You’re definitely going to work with a few
of these super cops.  You’re going to be
disappointed when you realize that your
super cops aren’t as sincere as the
television versions.  The pursuit of truth
and justice will be secondary to the
pursuit of recognition.  While everybody
likes recognition from time to time for a
job well done, Super Cop’s need for
recognition can be described as an
addiction.  Addiction to recognition is
dangerous simply because of the fleeting
nature of recognition.  When a police
officer becomes a recognition junkie, that
officer’s career will be in jeopardy in direct
proportion to the level of the addiction.   

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Breaking the Rules
Police Shows
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Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
Cops (stylized as COPS) is an American
documentary / reality legal series that follows
police officers, constables, sheriff's deputies,
federal agents and state troopers during
patrols and other police activities including
prostitution and narcotics stings. It is one of
the longest-running television programs in the
United States and, as of May 2011, the
longest-running show on Fox, following the
cancellation of America's Most Wanted after 23
years.
This is a list of police television programs.
Dramas involving police procedural work, and
private detectives, secret agents, and the
justice system have been a mainstay of
broadcast television since the early days of
broadcasting. Shows that are not dramatic
programming are indicated (e.g. reality
television, comedy or comedy-drama).
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TV
Shows
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Michigan to New Jersey
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New Mexico to North Dakota
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Ohio to South Dakota
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Tennessee to Washington-DC
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