NY cop slang

bapopik at AOL.COM bapopik at AOL.COM
Sat Apr 23 06:44:48 UTC 2005

SOUP NAZI--He's branching out, even to airlines! There was a run on "Soup Nazi" to my website today, and it got over 3,500 hits...I just added "track pizza," under Transportation.
BIG APPLE FEST 2005--I just re-checked, and the whore explanation of "the Big Apple" is no longer there on the Big Apple Fest website. Actually, there is NO "Big Apple" explanation at all. Not a link to my site, certainly. No mention of "Big Apple Corner." The horrendous Toronto Globe and Mail article "What would Madam Eve think?" is no longer linked in the 2004 articles section. It's like "Big Apple" means nothing, came from nowhere, and all I'd been through in 2004 was never reported anywhere and never happened. This city will never look for living witnesses or honor the black stablehands in any way. And no matter what I say or do, no one will listen.
Also, for you NYPD BLUE fans:


1.5. What the heck does "skel" mean? How about "PAA"?

The show features a lot of police slang and terminology that may be
confusing to the average citizen. So, to make your viewing
experience easier and more informative, here's a brief glossary of
police slang. Some of it was compiled by me, but the bulk of it
(everything from "Boss" on) comes from the book "NYPD: On the
streets with the New York City Police Department's Emergency
Services Unit," by Samuel L. Katz. (ISBN 0-7603-0186-7, Motorbooks
International, Osceola, Wisconsin. $19.95) NOTE: Some of these
terms haven't showed up yet on the show, but I'm including them in
case they do.

     Short-hand for "skeleton"; i.e., what most drug-users wind up
     looking like. A derogatory term used to describe low-life
     junkies. Also refers to homeless vagrants.

     From the book "The City in Slang, New York Life and Popular
     Speech," by Irving Lewis Allen (1993): The New York police
     today call the most vagrant of the male homeless skells.
     William Safire informs us that "it is a shortening of skellum
     meaning a rascal or thief, akin to a skelder, 'to beg on the
     streets,' first used in print by Ben Johnson in 1599, just
     after the playwright got out of jail for killing a man in a
     duel; it is possible he picked up the word from cellmate's
     argot." The word popped up about 1935 in the short form skell,
     suggesting that skellum/skell had underground oral use for
     centuries. Skell is now in popular speech to denote the
     homeless that are so visible throughout the city.

     Principal Administrative Assistant; also Police Administrative

     Internal Affairs Bureau, the branch of the police that
     investigates other cops

     Traditionally means "dead on arrival"; here it's used  to
     refer to just about any dead person, murdered or otherwise

     (1) your ass; "He's gotta bust my hump over this petty crap?";
     (2) a moron; "That stupid hump scratched my car!"

     Influence; i.e., veteran cops like Sipowicz and Simone have
     lots of juice at other precincts when their friends get in

Reaching Out
     Can mean anything from just contacting someone to trying to
     convince them to help the cops to seeing if they need help

Lawyering Up
     A suspect's decision to stop answering questions and ask for
     legal counsel.

The House
     Shorthand term for the stationhouse

     Baseball metaphors used to describe the system by which cases
     are assigned; e.g., Simone caught that murder in Chinatown
     because he was up

Riding DA
     The Assistant District Attorney assigned to a particular
     precinct; Sylvia is usually the Riding DA at the 15, but her
     pregnancy has caused her to cut back on her work, and ADA
     Cohen has filled in on occasion.

     Term for senior officers, from lieutenant (in certain units)
     to captain, deputy inspector, inspector and commissioner.


     Civilian Complaint Review Board

     Central Dispatch

     Crime Scene Unit

Dee Wee
     Phonetic for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated).

     Street slang for a Detective.

     Emotionally Disturbed Person, the politically-correct way to
     what was once referred as a "psycho".

     Emergency Medical Services, which technicians, often
     overworked, underpaid and unappreciated sometimes dub "Every
     Minute Sucks".

     Emergency Services Unit; the NYPD SWAT team.

     NYPD's Fugitive Apprehension Team.

     Street slang for police (obviously influenced by a now-defunct
     TV cop show).

Flying; to fly
     Leaving the confines of one's usual precinct  in order to fill
     in for a shortage of manpower in another precinct or location.

Go down, to
     Getting arrested.

Good people
     All-purpose NYPD compliment meaning 'kosher', nice, reliable,
     etc., irrespective of race, religion or sexual orientation.

Gun run
     Search for a weapon reported sighted in the hands of a "perp".

     Tactical assault on a criminal location.

     Service in the NYPD, as in "I've been on the job five years."

Lou, Loo, Lieu
     Affectionate slang for 'lieutenant'

     Member of the Service (police officer); used on the radio.

     Unauthorized term for "perp".

     Unauthorized term for "perp".

     Organized Crime

One PP
     One Police Plaza, NYPD Headquarters in downtown Manhattan.
     Open carrier: Police officer or vehicle with an open radio. -
     Package: Escorted prisoner or VIP.

Paying the rent
     For police officers, the handing out of a certain number of
     traffic summonses and moving violations.

     Perpetrator, criminal

Puzzle Palace
     Police Officer's term for One Police Plaza.

     An individual's guide and guardian angel in the department.

Rat squad
     Officers and detectives assigned to Internal Affairs  Bureau

Red Menace
     Unofficial term for members of the Fire Department of the City
     of New York (FDNY), also known as "Rubbermen", a term of
     affection and respect for those members.

     Loss in pay due to a disciplinary infraction, such as
     unauthorized moonlighting.

     Radio Mobile Patrol, the NYPD blue and white 'sector' car

     Subdivision within a precinct, which covers several blocks. A
     sector car is assigned to patrol the area (see RMP above).

     Special Narcotics and Guns Unit.

     Special Narcotics Enforcement Unit.

     Special Operations Division.

     Short for 'detective squad', attached to the specific

     Technical and Research Unit

Tunnel Rats
     NYPD Transit Bureau (the subway cops).

White Shirts
     Term for lieutenants and above, who wear white uniform shirts.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
Sent: Fri, 22 Apr 2005 21:37:16 -0700
Subject: Re: NY cop slang

Thanks, Bill.  I somehow missed this article.


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