Some cops are less strict than you would expect. These officers were just going to let these offenders off with a warning, but ended up having to arrest them. Why? Because they either outed themselves for hiding a more serious offense, lied horribly, or went into full-on attack mode. Anyone can get a little nervous around cops and end up making silly mistakes. These officers share the times they could've let people off the hook, but ended up having to put them in cuffs.
All content has been edited for clarity.
"I had a guy falsify his information because he thought he had a warrant. The guy whose information he gave me had a felony warrant.
After I slap on the cuffs, he tells me he lied and gives me his real information. He did not have a warrant. He did go to jail for falsification, though."
"I go to answer a noise complaint call from a house, which 99% of the time ends up with a warning. The loud guy is super wasted and says, 'My music couldn't have been that bad, I just drove home.'
The person who made the complaint says, 'Yeah, he just got home and turned on the loud music, I saw him drive up.'
Guilty verdict for second offense Driving Under the Influence at the jury trial for the loud guy. He was super confused when I started doing a field sobriety test on a noise complaint call.
He couldn't use the 'I just got home and drank' defense because he was over a .20 BAC, and had not been home long enough to get that trashed. The body can only metabolize multiple beverages into the blood stream so quickly. We have court experts that have formulas that come in to testify based on the times and tests to that.
At trial, he didn't even bring that up with his fancy pay lawyer as a defense. They said he lied to me about driving, and tried to say the witness was wrong and someone else was driving. The jury didn't believe his lies."
"I'm not a cop, but I once saw a guy get ushered off a bus for playing his music device too loudly and I guess having his feet up on a seat. He wouldn't respond to the driver when told to stop.
When the police took him off the bus, he went with them calmly. There were three cops. They were talking to him, and suddenly he takes a swing at one of them.
That was one fast take-down."
"Every wasted, tough guy at a party I’m breaking up will most certainly go to jail when he otherwise would've been free to go. Ironically, we’re rarely there to make an arrest.
For thought: there’s 2-6 of us and 20-50 of you. If you get in any way combative or aggressive with any of us, in front of your friends, we will nip that right in the bud. Getting swarmed by the suddenly courageous is unpleasant. Minus the baton strike, the movie Superbad portrays it adequately. Just leave."
"I used to bartend for a couple years at a late night bar near an expensive, Ivy-League-ish university. About once a month, some college dude would refuse to leave at 3 am. The cop working the door would go to talk to him, and the dude would - invariably - grab the cop by the throat and start yelling that he was going to kill the cop. They never threw a punch, it was always the attempted choking.
Almost invariably, the bar would get a call from the student's irate mother the next day after being hauled off to jail.
To be clear, it was a different student every time, not just the same idiot."
"Recently the high school aged kid that lives behind me has started throwing parties on the weekend when his parents are away. I get it, nice house and he’s got a lot of friends, but they are way too loud way too late. Not even music, just screams into the night well until 2–3 am. I’m not a stick in the mud, I’ve been to my share of parties that’ve been broken up for noise reasons. Typically the cops leave and that’s when my buddies and I take that as our blessing for the night. But these kids, huh, they are not smart. Eventually I email the tip line about the parties, and the local chief sends me an email back. They tell me to give them a call and they will calmly handle it. Perfect.
Next Friday night, they're at it again. It starts at about 11, but hey, I don’t mind. We get to 1 am and wasted high schoolers are just hollering into the night. Imagine you're playing the most intense game of 'Shout Like an Idiot' in your recently adolescent life, but you're doing it on your front yard in a suburb.
I call the non emergency line, tell them what’s up, and the chief's info. Soon after the shouting stops, I see some cars leave. Then 30 minutes later, it starts again. I decide to be that guy. I call again, they say they’ve sent people over. I say they're back at it. 'We’ll take care of it.' Click. I decide to force myself to sleep. It’s like 2:45 am at this point.
Next morning, the chief calls me to let me know what happened since I made a point to call twice. He says the first time the officers did the standard 'alright everybody leave' spiel, and had a bunch of super sympathetic kids promise to keep it down. Second call out, they talk with the owner's kid. Kid says he’s so sorry, begs cops to not tell his parents since they left without a fuss before, cops say, 'You're done.' The kids walk inside and the cops pull out the driveway, before turning around at the end of the street, rolling down their windows, and turning off the car. Five minutes later, they would describe '3 young adults screaming bloody murder at the moon.' Cops come back, say everybody’s getting a ticket and their parents are picking them up. There are only about 7 kids at the end of the night, the oldest being 17, and the parents were not happy to be woken up.
The family behind me doesn’t leave on weekends anymore and it is much quieter."
"I was a Park Ranger and we used to have a bunch of kids who liked to sit on a hill and smoke weed. Now they walked in and out and were just goofy kids and basically behaved, so I let them be until Travis came along.
Travis had a joint in his hand as I walked up, and he was told to toss it in the drain. Travis takes a big ole hit and exhaled in my face. I still let it go but began to simmer. He pinches the cherry and tries to pocket the joint. That was it.
Travis gets clipped. The idiot had an ounce in his sock and several blunts in his pocket. You think if you had ziplocks taped to your leg in your Chicano shorts, you would play it cool. Nope, not Travis. Stupid."
"This officer is off duty and taking his wife to get ice cream. He walks up to the window, the kid working sees the guy and recognizes him as a cop. 'Shoot, I knew you guys would show up at some point.'
The cop had no idea what kid was talking about, but played along, 'You really should have known. Will this go easy? What can you tell me? The more you’re honest, the better it could be for you.'
The kid proceeds to spill guts about being a driver for a breaking and entering that had happened recently.
The cop calls in for a cruiser, arrests the kid, and never got his ice cream."
"I was at a house party, it was getting a bit out of control and someone had called the cops on it. I’m from the UK and cops going to house parties seems way rarer than in America, at least from what I’ve seen in the media. This was the only time I’ve ever seen them show up, and they didn’t even go in the house, they waited outside for the owner to come, and asked them to start removing people.
So the guy throwing the party turns the music off and says for people to leave. Some people leave, some just start talking quietly, still buzzed on whatever. I was there with 2 friends and we agreed that the party was dead and we were hungry, so we decided to leave.
So we go out the front door and my one mate, who was hammered, goes over to one of the officers and I’m like, 'Oh no what is he doing.' He starts trying to chat with the officer, the guy is having none of it and says to leave, clearly trying to just do his job and disperse the party.
Next thing I see is my mate put his arm around the cop and try and take a selfie. He crossed a line there. The officer grabs his arm, puts it behind his back and in a few seconds has my friend in the back of the car. My other mate and I, up until this point we’re laughing at our idiot friend, suddenly are like, 'Do we try and save him?'
Sheepishly, we make our way over as well, start apologizing, saying he’s a moron, had too much, we’ll take him home and put him to bed. At first the officer doesn’t even look at us, says he needs to cool off in a cell but then relents and is like, 'Fine. Take him straight home and I don’t want to see any of you again tonight.'
Fantastic! So we get him out of the back, put our arms on him and steer him off back towards our place. The idiot then remembers we were going to get food, takeaway places being back past the party, the way we’d come. We literally had to hold this guy back and say we’d give him some oven chips so he wouldn’t run off and get himself arrested again.
Best thing about it? Dude couldn’t remember nearly being arrested, thought we were making it up, and didn’t thank us until a mutual friend from the party sent us some pics of him in the back of the car."
"An ex-roommate of mine decided to stop off in a town she wasn't familiar with on her way home from work to smoke some pot with some friends she'd met recently.
After staying just long enough to smoke a bunch, she drove down the road, not paying attention, and swerved right in front of a cop. I've since visited this town, and it very much has a vibe of pulls you over 'Hi, do you need directions?'
I'd bet that's what the cop was thinking when he pulled her over. She managed to escalate this from refusing to take a breathalyzer, to yelling at the cop for harassing her, to pinching the guy when he cuffed her.
I was on a lease with this person and didn't want to be responsible for her part of the rent, so I drove out and bailed her out after midnight on a weekday so that she could go to work the next day. Bail, of course, started off as $40, for a traffic violation, and escalated to several hundred when it turned out she had technically assaulted an officer.
And the next day, she goes to work with a bad attitude, gets fired, and GOES BACK TO THE SAME TOWN, AND GETS PULLED OVER AGAIN."
"I had just gotten off a flight and picked up a rental car and was leaving the airport area heading out to another town about 2 hours away. It was late at night, and I was not paying attention to speed limits. I took off from a red light, I don't recall doing it with any expediency, but again I wasn't paying attention. The car next to me did the same thing. A cop whipped a u-turn and came up behind the both of us to pull both of us over.
I pulled off pretty quickly, but the other guy didn't, so the cop followed him. I got back on the road and caught back up to the cop who had pulled the other guy over, and the cop waved for me to also pull over, so I did. I had my license, my rental agreement for the car, and just sat and waited. That was when I saw the guy in the other car throwing things out of his window, which I later realized was his license.
A LOT more cops showed up really quickly. One came over to my car, I handed him my license and he literally asked me, 'Why did you stop, there was only one cop here.'
I told him it didn't seem like a smart idea to try to get through the immigration checkpoint 20 miles up the road (south Texas) when radio exists. He laughed, walked away for a bit and came back to my window and told me to drive safe. As I was pulling away, they were arresting the other guy who was yelling and thrashing at the cops. It was a simple traffic stop. I didn't even get an official warning. Other dude was in cuffs. Just be nice to cops."
"This was a kid I went to school with. He is a whack job and always has been. He was expelled from my middle school for writing bomb threats.
A couple years ago (he was 19 I think), a member of his family found a loaded weapon that he had and turned it in to the police. All he had to do was either ignore it and lose his weapon or go in and prove that he had paperwork to back it up. Instead, he chose to go in and claim to be a Homeland Security Agent (with a fake badge to back it up). Police searched his home and found an arsenal of weapons and explosives."
"This happened two nights ago. I stop a car because his license plate light is out (must be visible from 60 feet or less). No biggie, operators are not going to know this unless we stop them and most often, we're just probing for a more serious offense. 10/10, we give a verbal warning for this infraction.
I request a license and registration per policy and the operator then demands to know why I stopped them. I advise them that per department policy, I don’t have to tell them until I obtain their license and registration as I request a second time.
Operator then goes off about how they know their civil rights and what I MUST do on a traffic stop. I advise the operator that 'it’s an arrestable offense in [insert my state] for failure to submit to a police officer your license and registration upon lawful request' and that 'I have to ask you exactly 1 time before I can charge you with failure to submit, so for the 3rd and final time, please provide me with your license and registration.'
Operator again goes off about his civil rights. I ask if he’s sure he doesn’t want to give me his drivers license and registration. He again refuses and gets himself arrested...for a stupid plate light. Turns out he wasn’t licensed and didn’t have a license to give. But he could have said that. Either way, he was going to be charged with something."
"While riding with a police officer on duty, I saw a guy blow a red light. I told the officer, but he said he couldn't give him a ticket since he didn't see it happen. I mentioned that the guy had no tail lights as well - so he begrudgingly stopped the truck.
When we walked up to the window, the officer asked, 'Do you know why I stopped you?'
To which the guy responded with, 'Yea, cause I blew that red light.'
The officer looked at me and shook his head then asked, 'Why did you blow that red light?'
'Because the brakes are bad in this truck and I couldn't stop that fast.'
The guy ended up having a warrant and had weed in his truck. The officer, who I rode with often, asked me to write out the tickets (he'd sign them) while he did the arrest paperwork. I wrote him for no tail lights and for unsafe equipment (the brakes). The officer asked why I didn't write him for running the red light - I said, 'Because you said you didn't see it.'
He was like, 'Yeah well, he admitted it,' - that's enough for me. Moral of the story, if you have a warrant or weed in your truck, don't drive around with bad breaks, no tail lights and running stop lights."
"I WAS a cop. Best one that immediately comes to mind was a kid who was speeding - nothing crazy, just like 10 mph over. Pulled him over and was in the process of giving him a warning when I noticed he had a radar detector.
I point at it, and he smiles and confidently says, 'It's ok, you can have one if you have a permit.'
'Do you have a permit?'
Ticket. Sorry bud."
"One time a colleague and I stopped a guy as his car showed up as having no insurance. He was super confused about the whole thing, positive he had insurance and was full of the, 'I've never been stopped by the police before,' which was probably true. Either way, we ran some checks with the insurance people and yeah, turns out he was insured, it just wasn't showing up for some reason.
He's still apologetic, sorry for wasting our time, a nice guy all round. We are literally getting back into our car and the guy is suddenly walking back and saying, 'I honestly do have insurance, I'm always honest, like, I had a few drinks earlier, too, you should probably know.'
I look at my colleague with a shared look of disbelief, slowly get back out the car and breathalyze the guy aaaaand yep. Almost twice over the limit. Promptly arrested for driving under the influence. He didn't smell one whiff of it and seemed fully sober to both of us. What on earth compelled him to tell us as we were leaving that he'd been drinking I'll never know."
"I was a wayward child in my heyday (less than 4 years ago) and we would convene in our local city for hangs.
It just so happens that a not-very-close acquaintance had been stealing from our local grocery chain this fateful day - think chocolates and soft drinks - and had just come back to rub it in all our faces.
Halfway through watching him chow down, we heard the sound of dirt bikes and my old mate starts sticking the evidence down his pants. Yes, our police force uses dirt bikes occasionally through the city, similar to the horses, because we have a botanical garden.
Now, I ain't no dog, but I have a better relationship with this idiot Officer Fletcher than this little pipsqueak and when they finally arrive and ask about the suspects' whereabouts - we separate and the officer smiles as he makes eye contact. Fletcher has never wronged our crew before, frequently officers would move kids on or ban them for the day from the mall, but this bloke had built up a rapport with us and was seen as a legend. We were not going to get involved.
Well, as expected, the young gent in question kicks off his shoes, which were not on properly to begin with, and takes flight. He's running as fast as he can possibly go, hair whipping, mouth open sprint.
With everyone watching, Fletcher calmly secures his police helmet to his head, adjusts his speedies and takes off. Our whole crew starts sprinting to follow.
Fletcher pulls up next to the suspect and waves him down to stop. This request is ignored at least twice, as much as I could observe puffing like a lunatic on the opposite side of the road.
Officer Fletcher's patience had obviously run out, so he speeds the dirt bike ahead of young boy and clotheslines this kid so hard his head bounced off the pavement.
The kid was fine and was not charged with anything, just had to pay for the goods. He stopped hanging out with us after collecting his shoes, now nursing a headache. This story is still told around the campfire to prove to the younger generation to not be pricks to the people in uniform and maybe they won't be pricks to you."
"We got called to a disorderly guy in a trailer park. We get there, get everything calmed down, get everyone’s information, and run NCIC checks to make sure no one has any warrants. At that, barring someone having a warrant, no one was getting arrested and we weren’t even writing a report.
The disorderly guy gives a bad name because he thought he had a warrant. We go to put cuffs on him and he gives his real name...and he didn’t have a warrant. We arrest him for giving false information.
While we’re finishing up, the guy decides to slam his on head repeatedly into my sergeant’s brand new patrol car (literally picked up the day before and it didn’t even have 100 miles on it). All caught on video, so now he also gets a destruction of property charge and then goes to hospital for an emergency commitment because after doing that he made suicidal statements."