If you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to spot an undercover police officer.Municipal plates, clusters of antennas, and dark tinted windows can be seen on unmarked police vehicles.When you’re looking at a potential cop in person, look for short, neatly-groomed military hair, heavy-duty boots, or baggy clothing with lots of pockets.An undercover cop might try to get you to give him information in order to make progress on a case.
Step 1: There are nondescript plates on the back of the vehicle.
Police cars that are not marked are often fitted with special municipal plates.Unlike ordinary license plates, which include a combination of letters and numbers, municipal plates typically only have a short string of numbers.This could make them stand out.Municipal plates can be stamped with the letters “MU” at the end.tags bearing the name of the local police department are required for some cop cars.
Step 2: There are a lot of radio antennas on the roof or trunk.
It’s important for cops to stay in touch with headquarters as well as other officers.There is no way to hide the amount of antennas needed to make this possible.Most consumer vehicles only have 1 or 2 antennas, whereas a cop car may have as many as 4-5.retractable power antenna may not be visible at all times.More and more cop cars are being fitted with puck antennas, which are short and round and made to blend in with the car’s paint job.These can be harder to catch, but they still have a distinctive look.
Step 3: The grill or side mirrors have out-of-place lights.
If you can make out a row of flashers between the headlights, you have done your job.Searchlights on the side mirrors may be accompanied by emergency lights.There is a cop car in disguise.There is a light bar on the grill just above the back row of seats.It is possible that it is in one place and not the other.It’s not legal for civilians to drive cars with emergency lights if you see an officer behind the wheel.
Step 4: The car might have a push bumper.
A push bumper is a cage-like device that goes over the front bumper of a vehicle to prevent damage in a collision and make it easier to force other vehicles off of the road.They’re a staple of police-issue vehicles, and can be found on any make, model, or style of car.Hummers, Jeeps and pickup trucks are the majority of civilian vehicles with push bumpers.Police departments install them on sedans due to their superior speed and maneuverability.
Step 5: Expect to see dark window tint.
Many upscale vehicles include tinted windows as a standard feature.The police car’s windows are usually darker towards the front.The goal is to make it harder for other drivers to see inside, but it also has the effect of making the car more noticeable.The presence of tinted windows alone isn’t enough to be sure that a given vehicle is being driven by a police officer, but it can be a major tell when taken with other clues.
Step 6: Look for neat or well-groomed hair.
You can see if someone is an undercover cop with a quick glance.Male officers usually have shaved heads, clean side parts, and high-and-tight haircuts.Female officers often sport ponytails, low buns, or close-cropped bobs in order to keep their hair out of their faces.Most police departments insist that their officers adhere to high grooming standards.It’s not enough to have a hairstyle alone.It’s not unusual for cops in deep cover assignments to grow out their head and facial hair to make themselves less likely to be identified.
Step 7: The person is wearing a jacket.
It’s easier for cops to carry all the tools and equipment without attracting attention if they have long or bulky outerwear.There’s a chance that there is a pair of handcuffs in one of the pockets if the person is wearing a rugged work jacket, 34 length coat, or plush windbreaker.They want to be able to grab something in a hurry and keeping one or both hands in their jacket pockets is an indication of that.
Step 8: You should keep an eye out for new hoodies.
In order to blend in with the crowd, undercover cops often wear hooded sweatshirts, warm-up jackets, and other sports-themed apparel.While none of these items are suspicious on their own, they can look out of place with other accessories.Hoodies allow officers to cover their heads and remain hidden.Making out the name or logo of a generic store brand on an article of clothing strengthens your suspicion.
Step 9: The person may be wearing cargo pants or shorts.
Like bulky jackets, bottoms with multiple, roomy pockets are part of many police officers’ wardrobe because of the amount of practical storage they offer.These pockets can be used to hold things like a flashlight, taser, pepper spray, or zip ties.More often than not, an undercover officer’s cargo pockets are full.A careless cop could make the mistake of wearing an expensive pair of jeans with other less fancy garments.
Step 10: Look for drab military or hiking boots.
If you’re not sure what to think of the person’s outfit, look down.Cops like to wear heavy-duty footwear because they spend a lot of time on their feet.They could also be wearing hiking sneakers.Police officers prefer neutral colors like black, brown, and gray because they are more low-profile than bright colors and flashy designs.The way they’re matched with other clothing and accessories is more important than the shoes themselves.How many people know who wears tactical boots with a hoodie and cargo pants?
Step 11: There is a gun under their pants or shirt.
If someone who’s acting a little funny is actually working undercover, you can catch a glimpse of their sidearm under their clothes.The tell-tale shape of a gun is easiest to detect when they’re bending, leaning, or raising their arms.If you discover that the person you’re talking to is concealing a firearm, it’s wise not to mention it to them.
Step 12: If you don’t know who they are, be careful.
If you have a run-in with a stranger who seems oddly friendly or inquisitive and your gut is telling you that there’s something not quite right about the situation, listen to it.An undercover cop’s job is to spy on civilians by pretending to be them.Someone who’s just trying to make small talk and someone who seems like they’re after something are different.If you start to receive pointed questions, such as, “How old are you?” or “Do you know the person who’s throwing this party?”, consider it a red flag.
Step 13: People who don’t fit in should be watched.
Scan the room and try to find someone who stands out.A man with a buzz cut is at a punk rock show.If you notice a lack of headbanging, he’s there to bust a drug dealer.Do you know what makes a person different from everyone else around them?
Step 14: There are no matching pairs in public places.
In some cases, an undercover officer will have a partner with them on dangerous or high-stakes assignments.The two of them may look like an odd couple since cops don’t always have a say in who they’re with.They’ll most likely stay close to one another, but won’t do much chatting or even acknowledge each other.Two people with significant age or cultural differences hanging out alone on a street corner may be there for police reasons.
Step 15: Do you have any habits or interests that don’t add up?
There are glaring inconsistencies that arise when you’re observing or interacting with the person.They might be a crack in the facade.Something is off if you hear a college student ordering an expensive brandy or see a self-proclaimed environmentalist driving a gas-guzzler.People are complex.Don’t be so sure that someone is a cop because they turn down a drink or tell you that their favorite show is The Wire.
Step 16: Don’t draw unnecessary attention to the person or yourself.
It’s important that you don’t interfere with the duties of the undercover cop if you think you’ve identified them.You could be charged with obstruction of justice if you make a scene.They are there to enforce the law and protect you and the other civilians.Some people think that if you ask an undercover officer if they’re a cop, they have to tell you the truth.You could cause trouble if you pose the question at the wrong time or place.