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Playing With: By-the-Book Cop
Basic Trope: A police officer who follows rules and regulations.
  • Straight: Bob is a police officer who does his job according to the rules and regulations that govern the operation of police officers in his jurisdiction.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Bob is an absolute stickler for the rules, who comes down harshly on every infraction — no matter how minor and insignificant.
    • Bob carries a copy of The Book with him, and looks up the exact wording of the rules and regulations for every situation he encounters.
  • Downplayed: Bob follows all of the important rules and regulations. He may be occasionally commit minor violations like leaving his badge unpolished or not enforce trivial offenses that just plain aren't worth his or the court's time. However when it is serious he is a paragon.
  • Justified: There actually are lots of rules that govern how police officers are required to conduct themselves and do their jobs, and breaking them can not only carry significant legal and ethical repercussions for the individual officer, but can also endanger a criminal case made against someone or the lives of innocent civilians and fellow officers.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: Bob appears to follow the rules strictly, but he secretly breaks them.
  • Double Subverted: Bob is an undercover officer acting as a plant to expose corrupt, incompetent or dangerous officers, and breaks the rules in order to maintain cover.
  • Parodied:
    • Bob doesn't quite understand the rules he's supposed to be following, and frequently mixes them up. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Everyone in Bob's precinct is a loose cannon of the first stripe; however, Bob refuses to beat up or threaten the perps until they've answered at least one question. For this, Bob is derided as a "rule-abiding pansy."
  • Zig Zagged: Bob follows some of the rules, bends others, and outright breaks more.
  • Averted: Bob doesn't need to break the rules to catch the criminals
  • Enforced: Bob is a main character in a realistic Police Procedural drama which follows a realistic version of the police to a high degree. As Cowboy Cops are, for numerous reasons, quite thin on the ground in modern police departments in Real Life, this means that Bob must be bound by the book to some degree if the writers are to accurately reflect the real thing.
  • Lampshaded: Bob comments that his life in the police force involves a hell of a lot of paperwork.
  • Invoked: Bob comes from a family which has traditionally had several members join the police force. This means that he's had a respect for law and order and the rules that police officers follow drilled into him from a young age, which influence him when he comes to join the police.
  • Exploited: Charlie knows the tendencies and carefully ensures that he'll get off on technicalities.
  • Defied: Bob rejects these lessons and flouts the rules more obviously.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: Bob is reading a police procedural and remarks approvingly on how the author has obviously done his research, and written a story which reflects life in the police force accurately.
  • Deconstructed: Bob's over-enthusiastic working to the rules ends up letting criminals go free, as he is stymied by rules that they by definition refuse to follow. This results in Bob becoming disillusioned with his job.
  • Reconstructed: It's unfortunate that following the rules lets some criminals go free, but it's compensated by the many more that following the rules allow them to successfully convict — with the convictions being secure because the rules were scrupulously followed. Furthermore, a police department can only function if its officers follow the laws they are sworn to uphold as well as the citizenry; if they don't, the department will lose its moral authority and, consequently, its actual authority.
  • Played For Laughs
    • Bob spends so much time wading through paperwork, he has to put criminals under increasingly ridiculous security measures to make sure they don't escape before he finishes.
    • Bob is partnered with Steve, a Cowboy Cop, provoking much humorous bickering as Steve's rule-breaking methods clash with Bob, a stickler for the rules.
  • Played For Drama:
    • Bob manages to capture the villain, but his insistence on following procedure results in the villain escaping/getting acquitted.
    • Bob is the one honest cop in a corrupt department.

"Look, Callahan. I don't know how they did things in your old precinct, but here, we go back to By-the-Book Cop by clicking on the link."

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