Useful Notes / The Thin Formerly Green Line
Priorities are everything.

Policeman: Fräulein, you can't swim in this lake. It's illegal.
Woman: Couldn't have told me that before I stripped naked?!
Policeman: Stripping naked isn't illegal.note 

This page is about the Polizei: the law enforcement in The Berlin Republic, and West Germany before that.

It is, similarly to US law enforcement, not a single entity, but a multitude of police forces operating both on regional (well, state) and national level. It used to be different, both under Those Wacky Nazis and East Germany, who once opted for highly centralised, paramilitary police forces (being ideal for autocratic states) rather than the quirky and freedom-loving lawmen they are nowadays.

Every German Land has its own police force, and then there are federal entities like the Bundespolizei (who handle everything border-, customs- and transportation-related; so whenever you come to Germany, those would be the first and last guys you'd see; plus, they're also the umbrella organisation of the famed GSG-9), and the Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Crime Office, tasked with handling organised and cross-state crime - basically the German version of the FBI), who answer directly to the Ministry of the Interior rather than any state.

The Polizei doesn't necessarily share (or no longer shares) certain other countries' stereotypes of being overly violent, corrupt or even lazy (remember, they're German), but they are still gladly depicted as stuffy, pompous, uppity, ignorant, dictatorially bureaucratic and racist, in combination with not being terribly smart.

As for the "Thin Green Line"... While several German states historically had their policemen, gendarmes and soldiers wear green uniforms (Bavaria in particular), green became Germany's staunchly standardised police colour from 1936 to 1945, and from the 1970s to the early 2000s (on both sides of the Iron Curtain, in fact - though they were colder and more blue-ish hues in the GDR), and consisted of the hilarious bright green blazers, mustard-yellow shirts (earning them the unfortunate nickname Senfmännchen - Mustard Men), brown trousers and black ties.

After a uniform reform in 2004, each state got to choose their own uniforms; most opted for boring blue (including the Bundespolizei), and some for black (like Hamburg), but Bavaria and Saarland decided to stay green (though they did get rid of the ridiculous green blazers in favour of snazzy black leather jackets). As for many police vehicles - they often still are all green and white because no one bothered to repaint them. Then, as of 2015, Bavaria has apparently decided - for no explicable reason - to go Austrian of all things (purchasing surplus white caps, dark blue overalls with yellow lettering and pale blue lampasses from the Austrian Police Force).

Ps: The Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution) doesn't count, because they already are supposed to be Germany's domestic intelligence service. Neither do the Feldjäger, who are proper Military Police and hence Not The Wehrmacht.

Portrayals in popular media: