Gallows Humor (Cop Humor)

Cop Humor: The Hilarious Death Photo

It’s been a while since I sent out a humor blog, and I thought you might want another peek behind the curtain of what part of our cop lives are like when it’s just us and no one else is looking.  Especially when there’s no supervisor, HR, or OEO rep standing around to realize what’s going on.  Your closest friends and allies can be the most brutal people you’ll ever know because they aren’t gonna pull punches whenever they can trade your dignity for a few laughs.  Hope you enjoy a few examples.


Most every police department has at least one photo of their sworn employees.  It’s the one in their uniform, probably in front of a neutral background with an American flag.  You get killed in the line of duty, they’ll show your smiling face in front of the stars-and-stripes.  Same thing if a civic group bequeaths you with a service award or you save a bus of nuns and blind children from certain death.  Whatever the positive press occasion, this is the image the public will see of you.  We have some fun with the “death photo.”  I’ve always taken one for the agency and then coerced the photographer to take one for me.  My personal collection consists of me, in uniform, doing my “Gene Simmons” impersonation, tongue all the way out and “rock-out” hands up in the air.  A later update shows me in a silly high school yearbook pose, chin awkwardly resting on the back of my hand, trying to appear intellectually deep while my back-up gun juts up “gangster style” from my front waistband.  I always make the department photographer promise to use the funny death photo if I actually die at work.  They, of course, agree, but we both know it won’t happen.  I just hope they make it into the slide show behind an inspiring, masculine soundtrack.  Like the penny whistle solo from, “My Heart Will Go On,” for example.  Yep, dude tunes.

Some agencies have you take two photos for very specific reason.  The second photo they take?  No smile, no flag.  Just you in uniform in front of a neutral, usually jail-house grey background.  That photo’s the one they’re gonna use when you really mess up.  Get arrested for a DUI?  Get fired for having sex on duty?  Resign during an internal investigation?  That’s the image they’ll release to the public.  The second pic’s basically an unofficial “booking photo” the department uses to distance themselves from your bad actions.  Sure, you’re still in uniform because they can’t pretend you didn’t work there, but they can present an image that helps make you look guilty and untrustworthy.  The photo essentially says, “We suspected he was bad the whole time, we just couldn’t prove it…until now.”   None of us ever really laugh about that photo, which makes me wanna laugh about it all the more.  Cross your eyes, just enough so the photographer doesn’t notice.  May as well, I guess.  Cross-Eyed Cops, that’s funny stuff.


Since you brought up “Cross-eyed Cops,” I’m gonna dime a couple of us out.  So, I don’t think many people know this, but I have a lazy eye.  Not all the time, just when I’m really tired.  So, I’m free to make fun of my cop buddy, who had a really lazy eye most of the time.  He stops these two guys on the street, starts talkin’ to ‘em about dope, or guns, or Pokémon, who knows.  Point is, the two guys are both standing in front of him, and he’s asking each of ‘em different questions.  One guy’s not answering, and it starts pissing my buddy off.  Starts shakin’ the guy a little bit about not responding to him.

“You got somethin’ to hide,” he probably asked.

“Wait, you talkin’ to me?  I can’t tell if you’re talkin’ to me, cuz you been looking my buddy the whole time!”

Pretty sure that was the impetus to get his eye fixed.  Can’t wait until he reads this blog and I get to hear about it.  I can already imagine his response’ll probably rhyme with “Duck Dew.”  Got a few more funnies to share with you soon.  Thanks for the read!

Be safe out there!


2 thoughts on “Cop Humor: The Hilarious Death Photo”

  1. Hi Gavin,

    I really enjoy your posts. I have saved every one since I started getting them so I can go back to read again.

    This one was funny and I like gallows humour, but I also like the histories you show us.

    One thing I learned that was pretty sad and gross at the same time – I did not know you could get gangrene in your tongue.

    Looking forward to your next post,




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