"Baker, let me tell you a little secret. A patrolling officer on his beat is the one true dictatorship in America. We can lock a guy up on a humble, lock him up for real, or say 'Fuck it, let's pull under the expressway and drink ourselves to death', and our side partners will cover it. So no one... and I mean no one tells us how to waste our shift."This is the beat cop who wears a uniform, patrols the neighborhood, controls traffic at cross-sections, and watches for infractions to the road code. Heroes who break the law whether unwittingly or out of childish mischief will likely end up on his wrong side, and be given a fine or taken to the local police precinct. Neither a Rabid Cop, a Cowboy Cop, nor an Old-Fashioned Copper, the Meddlesome Patrolman is still liable to be as annoying as the Obstructive Bureaucrat. A frequent recurring minor character in classic Belgian Comics and Franco-Belgian Comics and an obvious foil to protagonists who are either street urchins or just regular children who use the streets as a playground. So, expect some examples to be found in older American shows and comic strips (basically dating from before the rise of suburbia). The meter maid is a possible variation. Compare Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist.
—Jimmy McNulty, The Wire
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Anime & Manga
- Hotori, the main character of Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, has a long-running feud with the stressed neighborhood cop Matsuda, although besides being cheeky, playing hooky and sneaking out at night she isn't exactly a delinquent.
- Coluche, a famous French stand-up comedian, had a routine called "Le Flic" ("The Cop") in which he played a Meddlesome Patrolman.
- Gaston Lagaffe: Joseph Longtarin is Gaston's nemesis, forever looking for a reason to give him a fine for this or that alleged traffic violation. Gaston retaliates with various practical jokes that often involve vandalizing parking meters.
- Agent 212 is an interesting case of a Meddlesome Patrolman who is also the protagonist of a series rather than a supporting character.
- Agent Bodard in Corinne et Jeannot. His main purpose seems to add insult to injury caused by Corinne on Jeannot.
- Agent 22 was a recurring nemesis of Boule et Bill in the early albums.
- Agent Dussiflet or his peers get to slap a fine on Achille Talon, or drag him in handcuffs to the local police precinct, on more than one occasion. They also often try to catch Papa Talon driving or walking around drunk.
- Agent Tieter in the Belgian comic strip De Vrolijke Bengels by Willy Vandersteen.
- De Champetter in the Belgian comic strip De Lustige Kapoentjes by Marc Sleen.
- In the German comic Werner, Bruno and Helmut.
- In Ms. Tree, the title character originally worked as a parking attendant who met her future husband when she ticketed him.
- Officer Bulle Bas in Tom Poes.
- Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber: Commissaris Knobbel and his police officers.
Films — Live-Action
- The motorcycle cop played by Tim Robbins in Robert Altman's Short Cuts takes advantage of his uniform to pull over good-looking women and ask them for dates.
- In Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, one policewoman pulls over a car with a seriously wounded passenger and insists on the full formal procedure before allowing to move him any closer to the medical attention. Unfortunately for her, the wounded guy is a gangster, and, well... definitely isn't a "fuckin' male chauvinist pig".
- The French movie Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez and its five sequels are a film series were not only the main character (played by Louis de Funès) but most of the supporting cast is this kind of cop, of the National Gendarmerie subtype.
- Another (older) Louis de Funès movie is Ni vu, ni connu. This time, the protagonist is a poacher, and he's outwitting a Meddlesome Forest Guard.
- Charlie Chaplin's character of The Tramp has often to deal with a Meddlesome Patrolman (or ten) in many of his movies.
- These guys often showed up to bully all sorts of silent comedians, Laurel and Hardy, and The Three Stooges in the first half of the 20th century.
- Mandatory Discworld reference: that would be Sergeant Colon and possibly Corporal Nobbs. Colon especially hits the Meddlesome Patrolman wall hard when he is temporarily promoted to Captain during the events of The Fifth Elephant.
- The Elenium:
- There's two cases when officers try to hassle a troop of Church Knights escorting their Preceptors. Intimidation (and a perfectly-legal field demotion) wins the first time, but the second time Sparhawk lets Faran work out some aggression by trampling the idiot.
- If border guards count, then sequel series The Tamuli has a great example in the form of some Cynesgan guards who were deliberately trying to stall Sparhawk. This being a work starring Sparhawk, constructive Elenishism ends up taking care of the problem.
- A rural-village version often appears in the writings of P. G. Wodehouse.
- Local police officer Flipsen in the Dutch children's novel Dik Trom is always the Butt-Monkey of Dik Trom's jokes.
- Joe Pickett: In Blood Trail, Joe is driving to meet an FBI informer from inside an Animal Wrongs Group in a park in an isolated small town. He is stopped by the small town cop for speeding (the speed limit had been changed the month before and Joe did not know). It turns out Joe had once arrested the cop's father for hunting without a licence. The cop still bears a grudge and goes out of his way to be as hindering and obnoxious as possible to Joe. Joe eventually knocks the cop out and drags him along to the meet. However, by the time they get to the park, the informant is dead.
- Karen and Davis from Corner Gas occasionally do this. Usually because they don't have anything else to do.
- Marie Pervenche, a French live-action TV series from the 1980s. Although the eponymous character doesn't spend much time doing that job before adventure calls. OTOH, Danièle Evenou, the actress who played her, is wacky enough in real life to be compared to Gaston Lagaffe.
- Bruce "The Goose" Hopkins, the council bylaws officer from the Australian kids show Streetsmartz.
- How city employees are regarded in Parking Wars, usually by those on the receiving end of a parking violation.
- While The Wire largely focuses on detectives trying to make a case against major players in the drug trade, we occasionally see interactions between patrol cops and the corner kids who mostly view them as an annoyance or occupational hazard (barring the occasional violent bastard).
- "Lovely Rita" by The Beatles.
Standing by a parking meter
When I caught a glimpse of Rita
Filling in a ticket in her little white book
- Funny story, actually; Paul McCartney wrote this one as a sarcastic love song to a woman who had given him a ticket not too long prior. When asked about the woman's name, his reply was something along the lines of "She looked like a Rita to me." It is no doubt merely coincidence that choosing that name made it easier to find rhymes for "parking meter"...
- Officer Obie from Alice's Restaurant, who treats a case of littering as it were the crime of the century.
- Patrolman Mulligan in Dead End. He's not thrilled to be assigned to a precinct where kids pull knives on people, but at least it's not Harlem.
- Lieutenant Schrank and Officer Krupke in West Side Story. The Jets and Sharks show them only mocking respect. Schrank would rather have both gangs kill each other off.
- This has been invoked in multiple cartoon shorts in which a patrolman sees some children out and about instead of at school and goes through considerable effort to corral the truant children and get them to go to school. At the end of the short, the cop gets to the schoolhouse with the children and notices a sign pointing out that the reason the children are out and about is because it is a school holiday — something the kids have been trying to point out for at least half the short.
- Pretty much every episode of Top Cat revolves around the cats running some shady scheme while trying to keep Officer Dibble out of the loop.
- There's a cop in SpongeBob SquarePants who shows up in a few episodes giving out tickets to characters (Usually Squidward) for really petty crimes; in at least one episode where he shows up he blatantly ignores a more serious crime to ticket Squidward for littering.