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 Shows
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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Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker  
Breaking the Rules
TV Shows
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