NY cop slang

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Apr 23 04:37:16 UTC 2005

Thanks, Bill.  I somehow missed this article.


"Mullins, Bill" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Mullins, Bill"
Subject: NY cop slang

"About New York" Meyer Berger New York Times; Oct 20, 1958; pg. 34 col 1

"Some of the items in the New York Police Department glossary are
interesting. A-men are men in the automobile squad. A uniform is a
bag. A policeman calls his arrest and summons record his batting
average. Detectives are brains. The broom is the station house
custodian. A detective's shield is a button, potsy, or tin. Any
stretcher case is a carry.
Unidentified dead destined for potter's field are C. C. (City
Cemetary) cases. Chopper coppers are helicopter fliers. Any spot that
takes a policeman out of the rain is a coop, or a heave. A motorist who
drives with one eye on his rear-vision mirror is a cutie. Departmental
charges against a policeman are didoes, or small ones.
A motorcycle policeman revving up in pursuit of a violator is
dumping it in. The foxy motorist who slows almost to a halt when he
senses pursuit drops dead. A transfer from one police command to
another is flying. An easy arrest is a grounder and a speed violator is
a heavy foot. A cutpurse who goes after women's off-the-shoulder bags
is a hanger binger, and a cop assigned to narcotic cases is a hombre, or
the Man.
A man a long time on the police force is a hairbag. The man who
wins a promotion is "made." The precinct captain is the Old Man or
Skipper. The policeman who hands a summons to a motorist puts him in
the satchel. A fine for violation of police regulations is a rip. A
spying department superior is still a shoofly. A salute to a superior
office is a slam, or a highball. A man on desk duty has the stick. An
informer is a stool, or stoolie. A complaint is a squeal. When you
follow a suspect you give him a tail.
A policeman doesn't subdue a truculent prisoner; he tranquilizes
him. A man who leaves home is a walk-out to the Missing Persons Bureau;
a man on motorcycle duty is on the wheel and a lieutenant who heads a
detective squad is the whip.
Even the Communications Division has its own terms. A busy
switchboard at Police Headquarters is, by poetic touch, a Christmas

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