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Donut Mess with a Cop

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"If you want to find all the cops, they're hanging out in the donut shop."

In fiction, it's much more probable that you'll see a cop eating a donut than anyone else, except for Homer Simpson. The cop guarding your jail cell is often seen dunking their donut with pink frosting or similar in their cup of coffee. The cop in the stakeout may have a half-empty box of donuts in their car. When taking a break from driving, they commonly hang out at the donut shop.

In more humorous displays, the cop might react to a donut as Scooby-Doo would to a scooby snack. Donuts may be the defining motivation for them to have joined the force. In fact, "Officer Donut" is a casual insult for a cop. A police character might be so obsessed that they could be bribed to do anything for donuts.

In actuality, the historic association between police officers and donuts is less insulting and Makes Sense In Context for practical reasons. Cops will usually consume lots of coffee, because it's necessary for them to stay awake during the night, and the donut pairs well as a sweet to dunk in coffee or to remove its bitter aftertaste. Donuts are also ready-made, boxed for easy storage, do not melt or get inedible when old, and tend to be both filling and cheap. And since bakers want to have a fresh batch ready to sell every morning, donut shops tend to open very early, and some stay open all night. For a while, they were among the few places open for someone working the graveyard shift. Donut shops also tend to give out free donuts to law enforcement, partly as a public service and partly to encourage cops to hang around (and robbers to stay away).note 

As donuts are fattening sweets, the cop munching them is commonly portrayed as a fat, lazy, moustached Obstructive Bureaucrat. Strangely, they never get glaze or frosting in their mustache.

As for Dirty Cops, just remember that Evil Tastes Good — as do donuts. And Rabid Cops might scarf them down with excessive zeal and no restraint, the same way they do their job. But if this trope brought into positive portrayals, especially as Cowboy Cops, a cop who munches donuts or other desserts voraciously can be sometimes portrayed as a Genius Sweet Tooth. If the cop is an anthropomorphic animal, they may be portrayed as a pig, since this works well as a reference to both pigs' reputation as animals that eat a lot and a Visual Pun of "pig" as derogatory slang for the police.

While this might be Truth in Television, it could probably be seen today as an Evolving Trope. If anything, a cop might be hesitant in buying donuts because of the inevitable stigma associated with them. On the other hand, The Red Stapler effect comes into play. On their first round, a rookie might buy some donuts for the station, believing that all cops love them. But then, everyone does, so it's fair. They might subvert this trope by eating different kinds of sweets instead, like cupcakes or brownies.

It should be noted that this is primarily an American/Canadian based trope, as donuts are nowhere near as popular with the police in many other countries. While donuts are fairly popular in the United Kingdom, British Coppers tend to go for chips (which is to say in American, French fries) instead, and Filipino cops have a thing for pancit, the name given to several Chinese-inspired but locally-cooked noodle dishes.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • Air New Zealand Safety Videos: The Cop Show portion of "Safety in Hollywood" has Anna Faris and Rhys Darby as cops with "official police donuts".
  • An AFLAC commercial featured two cops describing AFLAC using an analogy with a donut.
  • Some years back, a local commercial in the Orlando market featured the then real-life Orange County Sheriff and several of his deputies chowing down at a particular 24-hour restaurant. The tag line had the good Sheriff pointing at the repast before him and exclaiming, "This is why cops don't eat donuts anymore!" (The spot was quickly pulled after protests that such a commercial endorsement by a law enforcement official was highly inappropriate.)
  • The Foundation For A Better Life's "Honesty" ad - where a boy appears to steal a purse, but in reality chases down its owner - in the extended version, the cops that he appeared to be running from offer the boy a donut when they see him give the purse back.
  • The infamous "Trunk Monkey" ads have one where the titular critter tries to bribe an officer away from giving a ticket to his owner, first with cash, then with a donut. It doesn't work.
  • A toy commercial for the Blue Senturion (a robot Super Cop) from Power Rangers Turbo ends with him buying a donut and a cup of coffee.
  • Although technically not a Donut Shop, Glock featured an all-night-diner (which is basically the same thing to police officers) which some genius crook attempts to rob... only to find it filled to the brim with cops there for a convention. Did I forget to mention that they were all armed... with Glocks?
    R Lee Ermey: "Somebody chose the wrong diner."
  • This commercial for McCafe consists in a horror movie parody with the Running Gag of every character constantly taking a sip of coffee all the time; the exception being the Sheriff, who is always seen eating a donut.
  • The end of this commercial for Cool Spot on Sega Genesis has two incompetent cops accidentally crash the car on a donut stand.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The English Gag Dub of Ghost Stories invokes this when the kids go to the police: "Drop the Krispy Kremes, Serpico!"
  • Koutarou Amon from Tokyo Ghoul has a major Sweet Tooth and loves donuts. In an omake, Juuzou brings him a box of donuts as a bribe.
  • In Death Note L (unsurprisingly) polishes off an entire box of donuts by himself. And in the live-action film adaptation, he creates a donut kebab by placing several on a skewer.

    Comic Books 
  • Sam and Twitch from Spawn also love donuts. Especially Sam. But, then again, he loves everything...
  • Harvey Bullock's love of doughnuts (see Western Animation examples below) carries over from his original appearances in the Batman comics.
  • Oddly enough Sergeant Slipper in The Beano can be seen having a donut doughnut.
  • Lampshaded in Ultimate Spider-Man. Peter is chasing Ultimate Carnage across the city, and we cut away to two cops walking away from a donut shop. Then Carnage lands in front of them and kills them before Peter can do anything.
    "This is why you gotta love the second shift."
    "It's why you love the second shift."
    "You cannot get fresher. The frosting is still cracking."
    "You are a caricature of a caricature."
  • Lampshaded in an issue of Spider-Girl:
    "Cops on a donut run. I feel like a walkin' sterotype."
  • Used very memorably as a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner in Ghost Rider 2099. Our cybernetic protagonist is confronted by a squad of corrupt police, and opens the beatdown with, "Bad cop. No donut."
  • In the Jack Chick tract "Murph", Murph and his partner Donovan are having donuts, and Murph complains about always being called away when he orders one. As Murph is dying from gunshot wounds sustained in the robbery, Donovan brings him a sprinkled donut.
  • Played with in the The Batman Adventures story "Laughter After Midnight", in which a cop tries to arrest The Joker, only to get sucker-punched after being squirted in the eye with filling from the donut Joker was eating.
    Joker: Yes! Downed by a donut! I love Gotham cops!
  • A version of the donut shop scene that ended up in RoboCop 3 was in Frank Miller's original script for RoboCop 2, published in comic form as Frank Miller's RoboCop, only it was a Rehab who was pursuing Lewis and confronted by cops who were, until that point, still on strike.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (IDW) issue 226 has some police officers among the customers of Cobra Commander and Dr. Mindbender's lobster roll truck. One cop remarks that while they aren't donuts, he's happy that the lobster rolls are free.
  • Red Xmas: A couple are shown in a police precinct describing their child's kidnapper to a cop who has a doughnut in his mouth.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Sirius Matter Sirius drove his motorcycle, which was charmed to be invisible to the police, at 200 MPH past a car containing "two overweight cops" who "continued munching on their donuts."
  • Revenge Is So Sweet:
    Harry looked at the donuts and pointed to them.
    "Sure, honey. Sounds like you are going to be a police officer when you grow up."
  • Sonic the Comic – Online!: Metropolis' Police Chief Bodger is a bulldog who is first seen eating a donut while being interviewed in the first Tails comic.
  • Chapter 8 of Mars Attacks: Simpsons, Chief Wiggum asks Lou to get some donuts while he was out chasing the Gnard Martians. Wiggum reasons that he forgot it was riot season.

    Films — Animation 
  • Every onscreen cop in Boogie is shown eating donuts, including two in a parked police car who dropped their food when Boogie sped past in the final chase.
  • The police car in Doug's 1st Movie has a vanity plate that says "DONUT-1"
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven 2: Charlie and David distract a large group of cops by announcing that a truck with fresh donuts has arrived outside the police station. Them being so gullible, and that they all left instead of just having a few of them go and get them for all of them, is another trope.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: In Sugar Rush, King Candy's top enforcers are a pair of cops, Wynchell and Duncan, who are respectively an éclair (or a long john) and a ring doughnut, and are named after two known donut chains.
  • Benjamin Clawhauser, ZPD's receptionist/dispatcher in Zootopia, eats so many donuts that his hands are always covered with sprinkles. He's first introduced eating one, comments on how he's the stereotypical fat donut-loving cop after a profiling faux pas, and then pulls out a donut from a fold of his neck when Judy points it out to him. Donuts aren't the only sugary things he constantly eats, though.
  • The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature: When Surly and Buddy try to get food from a donut shop, several cops go there because they're informed that the place is charging half the usual price for the donuts. Once the Mayor is arrested and Liberty Land is closed, one of the cops seizes a donut cart.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In an early scene in RoboCop 3, a rather pathetic hoodlum charges into a donut shop to hold the place up, and is suddenly covered in glowing red dots. He looks around in confusion and belatedly notices all the uniformed police officers/customers pointing their laser-sighted guns at him. This was even lampshaded by the clerk sarcastically commenting to the hood, "So what's it like being a rocket scientist?" Then the main plot kicks in, and they leave him just standing there, pleading "Isn't someone going to arrest me?"
  • In Mars Attacks!, cops are seen fleeing from a donut shop being blown up by Martians.
  • Attack of the Killer Donuts: Officers Rogers and Hammerstein's first scene has them decide to hit up Dandy Donuts.
  • The Boondock Saints:
    Paul Smecker: [enters the police station, packed with cops] First of all, I'd like to thank whichever one of you donut-munching, barrel-assed, pud-pulling sissies leaked this to the press.
  • Hollywood Homicide:
    Ruby: Bad cop! No donut.
  • The bank robbers in The Lookout contemptuously refer to the cop who makes coffee runs for Chris as "Deputy Donut."
  • Also from Raising Arizona:
    Smalls: You wanna find an outlaw, you call an outlaw; you wanna find a Dunkin' Donuts, call a cop.
  • Die Hard refers to this one as well: Sergeant Carl Winslow Al Powell buys a massive pile of Twinkies for his pregnant wife. The store clerk harasses him about it.
    Clerk: I thought you guys just ate donuts.
  • The cop in The Santa Clause had a donut that Charlie proceeded to stuff into his mouth after the elf commando squad tied him up.
    • There's also a very quick "blink and you'll miss it" moment earlier on. When the cops are preparing to go on a manhunt for Scott and have the town mapped out, in the corner one of the key sections underlined is that of a donut shop.
  • In Evil Ambitions (released on DVD as Satanic Yuppies) an obnoxious donut-eating cop attempts to keep Mc Gavin the heroic reporter from the scene of a Satanic sacrifice. When outwitted, the cop takes an angry bite from his donut.
  • During the chase scene finale of Con Air, two Red Shirt cops join in, dropping their donuts to do so.
  • Rush Hour has a scene early in the film which has Clive telling a couple of cops he's having a standoff outside a diner to "get back in the diner and buy some donuts" while holding Carter hostage.
  • Doyle in The Mask. We also had a warden dunking his donut.
  • Psycho Cop Returns opens with slow motion donut eating by the eponymous villain as he overhears the two of the main cast's plan for the afterwork party.
  • In Whos The Man, Denis Leary's character, Sgt. Cooper, attempts to stop Doctor Drénote  from ever eating a donut again, all because he calls himself "Doctor". He proceeds to taunt Dré by letting his partner Ed Lover have all the donuts he wants.
  • In Blue Streak, Martin Lawrence's character is a jewel thief pretending to be a robbery/homicide detective in order to retrieve a diamond stolen years before and hidden in the building. At one point, he sees a box of donuts and happily grabs one, only to put it back with the words, "I'm not a cop."
  • The Crow:
    Sergeant Albrecht: "So many cops, you'd think they givin' away donuts."
  • The credits sequence of the first The Naked Gun finishes with the police car stopping at a donut shop.
  • It took the Police Academy series until the fourth film to play this trope.
    Zed: I'm now about to teach you the most important thing to know while you're out on patrol. And that to eat a donut.
  • Defied in The Amazing Spider-Man.
    George Stacy: "Do you think we just sit around and eat doughnuts all day?"
  • In Beverly Hills Cop after Axel is released by the local police because he is just "on vacation," he sees the two officers staking out down the street from his "borrowed" hotel room. He sends them coffee and doughnuts, ultimately paid for by the Beverly Hills Police Department.
  • In The Fugitive, after taking over the investigation from the obviously incompetent local PD, Marshall Sam Gerard orders them to search every farmhouse, henhouse, doghouse and outhouse within a 4 mile radius. Then he asks for a doughnut with "some of those little sprinkly things on it."
  • Tommy Boy: Michelle's brother used to steal donuts back when he and Tommy were kids. He's a cop now.
  • 2 Guns: Has this alleged old criminal saying:
    Bobby: Didja ever hear the saying, Never rob a bank that’s across from a diner that has the best donuts in three counties?
    Stig: That’s not a saying.
    Bobby: Yes it is.
    Stig: No it’s not. I get what you’re saying, but it’s not a saying.
    Bobby: It’s a saying.
    Stig: Alright.
    Bobby: It’s a saying now.
  • Even as Wolf Cop lycanthropic cop Lou Garou prefers donuts (from Liquor Donut) to devouring human flesh.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), local town cop Tom Wachowski loves eating donuts, even talking to them to practice his promotion acceptance speech. Sonic has taken notice during his time on Earth and gave him the nickname "Donut Lord". Tom eventually uses it as an Appropriated Appellation while fist-fighting Doctor Robotnik in the climax.
  • In The Lookout, Deputy Ted stops by the bank on his rounds each night to share a box of donuts with Chris. The crooks casing the bank start referring to him as 'Deputy Donut'.
  • Stakeout: When Bill and Chris find out the cops who are sharing the stakeout with them have cleaned out the refrigerator, Chris volunteers to run to the supermarket, and asks Bill what he wants:
    Bill: How about some truth and justice?
    Chris: Anything else?
    Bill: (Beat) How about some donuts?
    Chris: Donuts. Why not? We're cops.
    • Later, at the supermarket, when he drops the donuts and other food on the checkout line:
    Cashier: Eating between meals?
    Chris: (mimicking her) Eating between meals?

  • A regional joke in New England revolves around the fact that Dunkin' Donuts (and we mean any Dunkin' Donuts) is the worst place to rob after a gun shop. A Starbucks, on the other hand, is a good target, since cops are mainly from working class backgrounds and hang out at DD, while Starbucks is seen as the place where college kids with lots of money and other snobs go. Ironically, most cops just get coffee these days and avoid the donuts.
  • A joke once detailed that when a Cop goes to Hell, he must make a decision: Bullets or Donuts.
  • There's also this joke:
    Cop: Excuse me sir, your eyes are bloodshot. Have you been drinking?
    Driver: Officer, your eyes are glazed over. Have you been eating donuts?
  • When a Krispy Kreme opened up in one New Jersey town, the mayor joked it was like having a second police station.
  • One social media post expressed the dream of hijacking a donut truck and going on a high-speed chase just for the image of police cars chasing the truck.

  • Able Team. Carl Lyons is offered a box of jelly donuts while investigating a homicide. Then just as he's biting into one, the police show him the crime scene photos in the hope of grossing him out. Lyons is a former LAPD cop however, so takes it entirely in stride.
  • Rare British example: The Ankh-Morpork City Watch, in the Discworld novels. Captain Vimes has a doughnut at Harga's House of Ribs in Men at Arms (and describes the recipe in full, to express his annoyance at Harga's literal-minded response to his asking for coffee "black as midnight on a moonless night"). In Thud!, it's mentioned that Sergeant Colon and the ex-Watchmen who come in to chat with him get through a lot of doughnuts, but it's worth it for the information. In Night Watch it's mentioned that one of the reasons Ankh-Morpork-trained watchmen are held in such high regard is that they don't accept bribes, apart from the occasional free beer and doughnut. And in Unseen Academicals, one character refers to the Watch being annoyed about breaking up a riot because it would be keeping them from the doughnut shop. Of course, while Discworld is a British creation, it takes its tropes from everywhere.
    • But for the most part, Watch members prefer foreign takeout, partly because that's what usually comes with coffee in the setting, but this is a British trope: British Coppers working the night-shift often end up grabbing something to eat from a Chinese takeaway or a kebab shop because they're usually the last place on the high street to close for the night.
  • Invoked and exploited by Dora Wilk Series - Dora brings a box of donuts to her old police station so that her ex-colleagues can say that they were having a break while she was (illegally) looking through their archives for a magical.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In Small Favor, Harry requires some donuts to bribe a faerie and asks Murphy to get some. She's offended until he explains exactly why cops eat donuts, pretty much the same as in the page description. She grudgingly accepts this and tells him which car they're in. (She says that she prefers granola bars herself — similar advantages but healthier.)
    • Harry likes doing this to Murphy. In "Something Borrowed", the following dialogue ensues:
      "I'll pay you in donuts."
      "Dresden, you pig. That cop-donut thing is a vicious stereotype."
      "Donuts with little pink sprinkles."
      "Professional profiling is just as bad as racial profiling."
      "Yeah. But you know you want the little pink sprinkles."
  • Many cops in Michael Connelly's books are seen enjoying donuts. Churros are substituted once when Harry Bosch can't find a donut store in a Hispanic market. Lampshaded in The Concrete Blonde when Bosch meets up with his partner while he is on a stakeout:
    Edgar was parked in front of a Winchell's Donuts store, apparently not realizing the comic implications of this.
  • Once every few novels of the In Death series, someone is bound to bring a box of donuts into "Cop Central". Usually it's intrepid reporter Nadine Furst, who routinely bribes her way into Eve Dallas' office by this method, but sometimes it's just "someone brought donuts." A feeding frenzy inevitably ensues, and the cop who takes care to set a donut aside for a colleague is considered a thoughtful person indeed.
  • A slight variation on this trope often appears in Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks novels. Banks and his co-workers have an almost-daily routine of going to a restaurant near the police station and ordering coffee and toasted teacakes.
  • In the Relativity story "Ghosts of Christmas Past", officer Aaron Brooks loudly complains about this stereotype, when a superhero approaches him as he's leaving a donut shop.
    Aaron: Why is it when a police officer goes and gets a donut, people give them shit about it? You don’t see someone give an auto-mechanic crap when they go out to get a cup of coff— (realizes he's talking to a superhero)
  • The Cardassian constabulary in the Star Trek: The Fall novel The Crimson Shadow enjoy "ikrit buns", which are described as having a sugar coating and fruit filling.
  • Tortall Universe: Beka Cooper, a Guardswoman (or "Provost's Dog"), dines on "fried dough spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg", which she later describes as "dough knots". Her partner Tunstall also has a fondness for stopping at the local bakery stall on the slightest pretext in Terrier, which are not strictly donuts but close enough.
  • Everyone Jo knows from Da Chief to her cabbie buddy Gary knows her favourite types of drink and her favourite pastries from the local donut shop in The Walker Papers.
  • The shtekeleh, a Filipino-style Chinese donut in The Yiddish Policemen's Union. Tears come to the detective protagonist's eyes when he realises that nothing in his life is better than eating one of them.

    Magazine Comics 
  • A cartoon from the National Enquirer depicts a police academy instructor pointing to a pull-down map.
    Instructor: Now, this lesson is very important, so listen carefully. These stars represent all-night donut shops...
  • Discussed in one of MAD Magazine's Monroe comics when the titular loser's mother begins dating a cop. In the morning she serves him a bowl of cereal saying she doesn't know what cops eat, with Monroe swiftly quipping "donuts!" The cop, a genuinely good officer, explains that it's a misconception as a healthy diet is a priority so he can keep physically fit.
  • In a Nodwick strip in Dragon based on Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (the D&D adventure where your Standard Fantasy Setting heroes encounter a crashed spaceship), Yeagar gets past the guardian robot by realising it's basically a cop, and offering it donuts he swiped from the Henchmen's Union break room.

  • Brad Paisley, in his song "Mr. Policeman," taunts the cop chasing him: "There's no way you're keeping up with me / Just go on back to Krispy Kreme."
  • Then there's the line from The Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian", quoted above. It might be the Trope Maker.
  • The "Smoked Pork" skit from Body Count's self titled album Body Count.
  • House of Pain's "Jump Around" features the line "Feel it, funk it / Amps in the trunk/ And I got more rhymes than there's cops that are dunkin..." It's hard to imagine it's in reference to anything else.
  • During the music video for "Sabotage" by The Beastie Boys, a scene during the middle break shows the cops stopping for donuts.
  • Ice Cube's song "Say Hi To The Bad Guy" has a particularly dark take on this trope.
  • The music video for the song "Stylo" by Gorillaz features a donut munching cop giving chase to a speeding car driven by the band members. To be fair, the only reason he stops was because Cyborg Noodle was popping shotgun shells into his police car and causing it to crash through a billboard. Said cop gets taken away by the Boogeyman to hell before he could reach for a nearby box of donuts.
  • A concert poster for the band Cop Shoot Cop depicts two policemen dueling over the last doughnut.
  • Ben Folds' song "Rent a Cop" mentions whispering lewd comments about women through his doughnut.
  • In the music video for The Smashing Pumpkins' "1979", the teens messing around in the convenience store stop when two cops walk in. They buy some donuts, and leave, after which the real mischief begins.
  • "Gimme the Loot" by The Notorious B.I.G. has this gem of a lyric.
    Biggie's Partner: Oh shit, the cops!
    Biggie: Be cool, fool; they ain't gonna roll up! All they want is fucking donuts!
  • "Fat Cop" by Regurgitator doesn't mention donuts specifically, but watching a cop eat one inspired Ben Ely to write the song.
  • In the song “Pigs” by Cypress Hill, several despictions of corrupt officers are described. In one bar, B-Real tells how “This Pig’s steady eating donuts while some motherfucker’s out robbing your home”.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • According to Scott Adams, one Dilbert strip he wrote featured Dogbert with a cop who would shoot a victim who was conveniently off-panel. The syndicate didn't like it, saying it was too violent. Adams rewrote the strip so the center panel would be replaced with "BANG BANG BANG" instead of the cop shooting. This didn't work, as it wasn't the act of shooting but the image of the cop holding the gun that was too violent. The published strip featured the cop holding a donut and shooting bullets out of that, giving rise to the term "Dangerous Donuts".
  • Garfield: Two cops seeing Jon, Garfield and Odie's antics.
    Bubba's partner: I'd say they've at least broken at least three city ordinances. Right, Bubba?
    Bubba: I didn't see nothin'. Let's get a doughnut.
  • Don Bousquet once made a comic claiming to be a police vision test. The letters on every line of the eye chart spelled out chains of donut shops.

  • In The Getaway: High Speed II, the second ball is locked by having the player pull up to Donut Heaven, where Car 504 happens to be taking a break.
    • There's even a secret Mania Mode that can be invoked when three cop cars are present.
  • Safe Cracker lets you collect donuts to distract the guards with.
  • In Mustang (Stern), "Police Pursuit" begins with a driver racing past a cop at a donut stand.
  • Heist!: If the player collects enough donuts, they can bribe the police to get out of an arrest should they fail a recruitment mode.

  • Quest in Show: Downplayed when Richie De L’Argent tries throwing donuts at the cops to get them to stop attacking him. They are momentarily tempted, but ultimately aren’t interested in donuts that have landed straight on the ground.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Gabriel Iglesias was once pulled over by a cop in a Krispy Kreme parking lot for exiting the wrong way (in his haste to get home and eat up). The policeman asked the obligatory "You know why I pulled you over?" He felt compelled to answer, "Yeah man, 'cause you could smell it!" The cop got enough of a kick out of that to let him off with a warning.
    • Another time he was pulled over by a cop who happened to be a big fan. The excited cop said "Wait 'til I tell everyone I met you! This is even better than the time a buddy of mine pulled over this fat guy who gave him donuts!"
  • Gallagher notes that "Sugar gets you wired up. So does caffeine. So, why do we let cops go to donut stands? They're gonna be like WheredidIputmygun? WheredidIputit?"
  • Canadian comedian Andrew Grose once pissed off a Tim Horton's (Canadian coffee and donut chain) enough to get them to threaten to call the police. His response was to get out of there immediately, because "even if they were just bluffing, the police are likely on the way there anyway!"
  • Jim Gaffigan brings up his own theory as to why cops are commonly believed to love donuts so much.
    Jim: Of course cops love donuts! It's because cops know right from wrong! Have you ever met somebody who doesn't like donuts? No, you haven't, because they're all in jail.

    Tabletop Games 

  • Sheriff Sugarfeet from Transformers: BotBots is a living donut herself. Her stealth is unfortunately hindered by the trail of powdered sugar she leaves behind her, however.
  • The zombie cop figure from ToyBiz's Resident Evil 2 action figure line is clutching a donut (the figure's sculpt was reused, scaled up with significant changes, for the cop who comes with the Sabretooth figure in ToyBiz's X-Men line, donut and all).

    Video Games 
  • In Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly, Officer Dooley drops by the café with some donut crumbs and filling spilled all over him. He denies having donuts before his visit, but Detective McQueen points out that he's still holding the receipt from the donut shop.
  • In the first Gabriel Knight game, there are a few police officers (such as the Desk Sergeant) who have quite a taste for beignets (New Orleans' equivalent to donuts).
  • Grand Theft Auto
    • ''Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has a few examples.
      • During the mission "Reuniting the Families", two bike cops drop their snack to join the chase. The camera focuses on the ground where the donuts drop.
      Motorcycle Cop: Waste of good donuts. Let's roll.
      • Also, the first two C.R.A.S.H. missions have you meeting the dirty cops of the unit at the only donut joint in Downtown, Jim's Sticky Ring. The first mission's cutscene actually features the fully rendered inside of the shopnote .
      • And sometimes if a fat CJ is arrested:
      CJ: You got some spare donuts? I'm hungry.
    • In the first game, there's a mission where you had to kill a group of cops who are all parked outside a donut shop.
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
      • A variation using soldiers:
      Sergeant: Private! Go get some donuts!
      Private: Sir, yes sir! CONVOY HALT!
      • Also, the radio dispatcher on the emergency radio asks:
      "Is there an officer near the Rusty Brown's downtown? There must be."
      • From Grand Theft Auto IV, the Rusty Brown Ring Donuts website repeatedly stresses their product's importance to the police's involvement in The War on Terror, promising a half-price discount for them. On the flip side, the law firm Shyster, Ligman & Goldman successfully sued Rusty Brown for making police officers unable to perform their duties by directly advertising to them, causing the officers to become fat & lazy through overconsumption of donuts.
      • Also, one of the cop models has the dialogue, "Oh, a donut! Make it large."
  • Half-Life
    • In the expansion Blue Shift you play as a security guard; not quite a police officer, but close enough. At the beginning of the game, where you can wander around some areas of the complex for a bit before all hell breaks loose, one of the scientist NPCs might say "Why are you standing around? Shouldn't you be guarding some coffee and doughnuts right about now?"
    • Before that, you're required to go to the gun range to pick up your sidearm. In the range are two fellow security guards: a regular "Barney" guard near the entrance, using the range for its intended purpose, and a fat "Otis" one way in the opposite corner, hiding there to eat a donut.
  • In the final showdown in LEGO Island, you need to help the cops catch the Brickster. You can launch donuts at them to give them a speed boost.
  • Wendy Oldbag in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a security guard. When Phoenix and Maya discover her eating donuts this exchange occurs:
    Maya: That security lady is in the guard station stuffing her face with donuts! I guess all cops like their donuts!
    Phoenix: Yeah, and they're soft enough she doesn't need teeth to chew them...
  • Donuts are mine-type weapons in Operation: Inner Space, which don't do damage, but cause those who pick them up to spin out temporarily. They're especially effective against the Enforcers, who will usually go out of their way to catch them. In fact, grabbing a donut that an Enforcer is after is actually a crime (albeit a minor one).
  • When Faultine (formery known as That One Level) of the City of Heroes was revamped to great effect, a donut shop was built with several police cars parked nearby (and a giant pink donut on top). Some gang members like the idea:
    Lost Member: It's a donut shop. We can take out half the force in this city with one good blast.
  • Hitman: Blood Money extends this trope to FBI agents. A difficult mission that tasks you to assassinate a man under heavy FBI guard (he's in the witness protection program), and by far the easiest way to accomplish this is to plant a pack of donuts injected with anesthetic (or poison, if you're feeling mean) outside the unmarked FBI surveillance-van, knock on the door, and run away. The FBI-agent pops out, goes "Ooooh, donuts! Score!" and then proceeds to share them with his partner... leaving you with a conveniently closeable surveillance-truck where you can check out the cameras, and safely change into your brand-new FBI-uniform.
    • If you don't leave the donuts and knock, the FBI agents will eventually steal them from the catering truck on their own.
    • A small lampshade hanging also occurs if you hide at the side of the van, you see a pair of feet below the vans backdoors and hear "Ooooh donuts! Nice... Full disclosure: We're actually FBI".
    • Absolution plays it straight by having one of the ways the player can make a cop disguise more convincing to the NPCs is to eat donuts out of a box left laying around. The scene is spoofed by Harry Partridge in this animation where our Master of Disguise is not the cop, but one of the donuts!
  • In Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (or at least in the Xbox port thereof, renamed Return from Darkness), there's an unlockable mission for Rikimaru that involves him going through a portal into the future. Most of the people he's required to kill are cops/security guards, and as they're dying, their last words are, "I see donuts...donuts from heaven."
  • In Postal 2 you can lure cops away by throwing doughnuts at the floor.
    • A rather sickening variation exists in the same game. Throwing a doughnut on the floor and then peeing on it will produce a contaminated doughnut which you can pick back up. These get lumped in with the rest of the doughnuts in your inventory and look no different than normal doughnuts. If contaminated doughnuts have a cop happen across the]... well, Vomit Indiscretion Shot ensues.
    • Also, finding and putting on a cop uniform causes the Postal Dude to say "Someone stole my donuts, and now you're all going to pay!".
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: While never actually seen eating doughnuts, Sam and Max have a box with one, ancient uneaten doughnut in it. Sam comments that there's a microscopic civilization on there. Eventually one of their "Continents" is blown up with a tiny nuclear missile.
  • In Chaos Overlords, the super heavily armed police that sweep through city sectors that players have overexploited have a stereotypical donut with pink frosting and sprinkles in their auxiliary equipment slot.
  • The So Bad, It's Good Transformers tie-in game shows Barricade scanning his alternate mode from one police cruiser out of multiple parked outside a donut store. (Of note is that you can also throw the giant donut on the roof at the cops. Stuff like that is what makes this tie-in So Bad, It's Good.)
  • The tutorial from SWAT 4 is a traditional assault course which ends in a debriefing room... Only, the new team leader (you) has left a box of doughnuts on the table. The general reaction is appreciative, albeit interspered with a few eyerolls and sighs.
  • Blast Corps has a level with a donut shop with a police car parked in front of it.
  • In MadWorld, donuts are used to distract the enemies in Area 66, who are essentially sci-fi tinged policemen/security guards. Agent XIII even notes that donuts are the vice of every law enforcement officer.
  • One of the recurring character in the Fu'un Series is Gordon Bowman, a fat cop. Nearly every last one of his pre-fight conversations in Savage Reign involve donuts.
  • Carmageddon 2: One of the missions has you deal with a whole team of cop cars, because you blew up their favorite donut shop.
  • In one of the Mass Effect games, a Turian C-SEC officer (cop) talks about how much he loves donuts. Apparently, this trope is strong enough to exist on both sides of Mirror Chemistry (“Dextro Dunkins” perhaps). There's a corporate security guard (close enough?) on Noveria with a similar line.
  • One of the side missions in Driver: Parallel Lines involves outlasting a police pursuit. How do you initiate this? You guessed it. Ram a donut stand.
  • Steve the Sheriff 2: The Case of the Missing Thing has a series of "fun facts" which are revealed by finding the cigar hidden in each location. Fun Fact #19 is that a particular convenience store sells Steve's favorite "cop car snacks:" pies that fit in your pocket and a "copper's dozen" of donuts (which happens to be thirty-six).
  • In the Atari arcade game APB, the player gets extra time when they drive through a donut shack. Driving over donuts along hidden pathways will also net bonus time. Destroy a donut shack by plowing into it, and the player receives one demerit.
  • In the 2-D game of Neuromancer a cop at "Donut World" tells you that civilians aren't allowed in donut shops.
  • In Burrito Bison Revenge all of the "corrupt" cops carry donuts.
  • In one of the many conversations you can have with people in Scarface: The World Is Yours, Tony asks the Crockett and Tubbs wannabes what sort of donuts they like. They both indignantly react to such accusations, but "Crockett" sheepishly admits to liking powdered donuts.
    • One of the missions has Tony wanting to buy a donut shop. The owner agrees to sell, but only if he can get rid of the cops who are always trying to get free donuts and coffee from him. Tony hijacks a police car and leads them on a chase that proves lethal for the cops.
  • In LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins, the first tutorial mission has rookie cop Chase McCain sent out by Chief Dunby to fetch donuts for his fellow officers.
  • Need for Speed:
    • In the original game, open road tracks disable traffic and cops in multiplayer and tournament modes due to hardware limitations. The manual handwaves this by stating that the cops are all resting in the donut shop.
    • One of the pursuit breakers in Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005) is at a donut shop, and running over the supports will have the giant donut fall on any cop cars chasing you.
  • Shadowrun Returns has a scene where you can bribe a Lone Star officer with a doughnut and soykaf.
  • In Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom the flavor text for the Watchtower mentions your watchmen fortifying themselves with hot tea and sweet pastries before going on patrol. The implications are clear.
  • The "Police Provisions" case in Another Case Solved involves locating a particular donut shop for a cop with a sweet tooth.
  • In Stay Tooned!, sometimes the door to Apartment 5D will be guarded by a giant donut. To get past him, you'll have to call the police (which he even dares you to do), who come over and eat him.
  • In the Papa Louie Arcade series, there is a customer named Hank who is a patrol officer. The creators of the games, Flipline Studios, revived him as a closer in Papa's Donuteria after a run in his debut game, Papa's Pancakeria.
  • The police station background art in Cate West: The Vanishing Files includes a box labeled "DONUTS" sitting on a desk.
  • Officer Johnson in Delicious 8: Emily's Wonder Wedding orders nothing but donuts when visiting Emily's restaurant.
  • SWAT 4: At the end of the tutorial level (an assault course), you find a box of donuts in the debriefing room. The team's reactions are generally appreciative, though there is some eye-rolling from the oldest team members.
  • Road Rash: Jailbreak: If you win a stage in "Five-O" mode (the game's mode where you play as a cop), one of congratulation messages for you is "Grab extra donut back at the station".
  • In SPY Fox 3: Operation Ozone, Stanley Seagull will give you the tapioca needed to make the Secret Donut XY if you give him the donut he wants. However, there is a cop in the donut shop that will eat any donut you order. You have to distract him by opening a can of laughter outside the shop and tricking him into investigating a laugh riot outside.
  • In Chapter One of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings talking to one of the guards outside the prison barge, will have him say: "I could for a doughnut right now."
  • The Darkside Detective:
    • Near the beginning of the "Disorient Express" chapter, Dooley makes several attempts to persuade McQueen that they should blow the case off and head back to the precinct house before they miss out on a free donut offer.
    • In the "Police Farce" chapter, the whiteboard in the briefing room of the precinct house is covered in writing that proves on closer inspection to be the donut and coffee rota.
  • While Jonathan Kane: The Protector doesn't have any cop characters, a guard mistook the titular hero as a policeman and asks what took him so long - is there a donut sale nearby?
  • Early in LEGO DC Super-Villains, a cop can be seen trying to eat a donut before being approached by Commissioner Gordon.
  • One of the boss ghosts in Luigi's Mansion 3 is an overweight security guard who has delusions of being an action cop, and his name is Kruller.
  • One of the dioramas in Puzzrama includes two cops eating donuts from a box placed on the hood of their car.
  • Die Hard: Vendetta have the hero, Cowboy Cop John McClane, lampshading the trope during a terrorist invasion, that he'd like to have a normal work day... a little filing, some coffee and donuts.
  • Referred to by a couple of pool players in the tavern in Dink Smallwood mod Picnic Perils.
    First player: Those Royal Guards couldn't find their fists.
    Second player: They could if it had a donut.
  • One custom police station for Simcity 4 is just a Krispy Kreme coded to act as a small police station.
  • Goat Simulator: The police station's sign in Goat Payday is a giant doughnut like the one at Randy's Donuts painted white with a blue band and letters.
  • In the Henry Stickmin Series game Escaping the Prison, some of the prison guards can be seen eating donuts. Clicking on all the donuts in the game gets you a medal.
    • Also invoked in one of the bios for the same game, in the remastered version. The bio for Kev Portly mentions that he joined the police force specifically because he loves donuts and knows that cops eat donuts.
  • Police officers in Saints Row 2 will occasionally eat donuts when they're standing idle.
  • In Spider-Man (PS4) when ol' Web Head and Officer Davis are working together to investigate an old warehouse, and the cop proves to be surprisingly nimble by jumping over an impressive gap:
    Spider-Man: Nice! Stuck the landing and everything!
    Jefferson Davis: We're not all donut eaters!
  • In Arcane Arts Academy Erika is brought to her grandmother by the police.
    Mrs. Tinsdale: What did she do this time?
    Erika: I interrupted them while they were eating donuts.
  • In the solitaire portion of GO Team Investigates a donut card frees all cards blocked by police lines.
  • Red Alert 3: In the tutorial, a bunch of Peacekeepers (the Allied basic infantry, basically riot cops with military-grade training and gear) are garrisonned in a donut shop.
  • City-Building Series:
    • 'Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom'': A watch station mentions the guards fortifying themselves with "tea and pastries" before going out on patrol.
    • Pharaoh: Police constables tend to have punny names, including Merydonut.
  • Downplayed in Hidden City. While none of the law enforcement officers are ever seen indulging in donuts, the only location thus far that features donuts as a possible search item is the Octopus Citadel, which is the former headquarters of the Security Service.
  • In Puzzle Adventure distracting the police outside a traveling freakshow involves turning on a donut vending machine.
  • The "Fuzz" type enemies in Persona 4 (as well as its spinoffs, Persona Q and Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth) appear as obese police officers and detectives with donuts stuffed in their mouths.

    Web Animation 
  • In the trailer for the cancelled Sly Cooper film, the Cooper Gang try to steal donuts when Murray begs for some. But when the donut store closes...Sly steals donuts from cops, causing them to get chased. Bentley yells "Why can't we just order pizza like normal people?"
  • Among the hints to Sheriff Gorou’s favorite snack in Epithet Erased: He wears a donut bolo tie, carries pistols with decorative donut handles, and keeps an open dozen on his desk. We would also say his beard is full of sprinkles, but according to an eyecatch it’s actually made of sprinkles perpetually stuck to his face.


    Web Novel 
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: Graham remarks on the association between police and doughnuts when he sees a police member consuming one in a hospital.

    Real Life 
  • "Bad Cop, No Donut" adorns many a T-Shirt of anti-authority youth and is the name of an anti-police subreddit.
    • This also exists as a bumper sticker, popular on pickup truck rear windows, where a cop can't not see it.
    • They also make ones that say "Police Headquarters" in the orange-and-pink Dunkin' Donuts logo font. All of which are excellent ways to ensure you'll never get let off with a warning.
  • Protestors sometimes taunt riot police by dangling donuts from the end of (usually improvised) fishing poles.
  • Perhaps the ultimate instantiation of this trope comes from Boston, which (not coincidentally) is the cradle of Dunkin' Donuts. (Technically, Dunkin' started in Quincy, but in any state but Massachusetts, Quincy—which is essentially urban—would've been absorbed into Boston a long time ago.) Indeed, after the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013 and the citywide manhunt and subsequent lockdown, the Dunkin' Donuts in Boston were among the only businesses that stayed open in order to accommodate all the law enforcement personnel in the area, since it was seen as a vital service—effectively serving as secondary police precincts.
  • Starbucks is pretty popular with Seattle police, since DD doesn't have the footprint, and Starbucks is a local company. It's also indoors, which is a good thing when it rains 9 months out of 12.
    • Amusing subversion in a few of Detroit's nicer suburbs (Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills): the cops all hang at Starbucks, despite the presence of several Dunkin' Donuts and Tim Horton's within the city limits or the next suburb over.
    • It's also worth noting that, traditionally, Dunkin' Donuts had a reputation for having just about the awesomest coffee in the universe, even if you weren't buying any donuts. Granted, that may be less true these days since specialty coffee shops have become so popular.
    • Helsinki, Finland has a similar joke referring to an ABC gas station which happens to be one of the few such places open 24/7 in the downtown. As a result, it's the go-to place for downtown police officers and also patrol security guards in the area. They provide free coffee for both.
    • In urban Britain, lacking widely available doughnut shopsnote , the police generally make do with kebabs or other greasy fried food from late-night takeaways. In rural Britain they have to make do with a flask of tea and a packet of sandwiches from home because nowhere's open past 11PM.
  • A 1994 MIT "hack" had some students secretly place a fake police car on the top of the Great Dome on campus. Inside, a mannequin dressed as a campus cop had a box of donuts nearby.
  • A T-Shirt guide shows that the best way to avoid a cop is to throw a donut at him.
  • There's been at least one real-life case where the attempted robbery of a doughnut shop has been thwarted by a cop who just happened to be there purchasing doughnuts at the time. Which is how this trope got started. Dunkin' Donuts decided that, to keep their employees safe during the graveyard shift, they would offer cops free donuts and coffee. For one reason or another, they don't do it anymore, but this example is the reason why the trope got started. While they may not be allowed to offer free coffee and food anymore, places like Dunkin' Donuts and Waffle House continue to be popular with cops on overnight shifts because they generally have reasonably clean bathrooms (necessary after that fifth cup of coffee on a shift) and a nice-sized table that makes it much easier to spread out and work on paperwork there than trying to do the same in a squad car.
  • In Clare, Michigan (a quaint little farm town about a hundred miles north of the state capital), the town bakery, which had been in business since 1896, was in danger of closing. The Clare Police Department - all nine of them - banded together and bought the bakery, and renamed the joint enterprise "Cops & Doughnuts". Link They've now opened several more "precinct houses" in Mid-Michigan, and branched out into coffee (which is locally roasted and excellent quality), as well as T-shirts and other merchandise, with such classic sayings as "Don't Glaze Me, Bro" and "Handcuffs and Cream Puffs." The entire enterprise is run as a not-for-profit, which returns the proceeds to all manner of community events and law enforcement charities.
  • In the 90s, Atlanta-area radio DJs Randy and Spiff had a "contest" called "Cop In, Cop Out", wherein they scouted a donut shop, then challenged the caller to guess whether there was a policeman in the store or not. Saying "Cop In" was pretty much a sure thing.
  • This article is a story about a donut delivery truck being hijacked and chased by a minimum of nine officers from four agencies in a half-dozen cruisers. The company donated the stolen donuts to the arresting officers.
  • An Alberta city in the early 90s saw an internal police memo leaked to the press where, to avoid people believing this trope by seeing the Tim Horton's parking lot full of police cars, officers were asked to park down the street and walk.
  • In 2001, a group of officers of the Albuquerque police decided to take their donut run to new heights, using a helicopter, no less!
  • A small arcade in Marina Del Rey, CA had a recurring problem with gang fights, so the strip mall's proprietors designated a parking space for police vehicles. Unfortunately, they chose the one directly in front of the adjacent donut shop, making it a local Running Gag for years.
  • Subverted in many communities where breakfast tacos are a favorite treat; breakfast tacos also taste delicious with coffee and there are many opportunities to grab a taco anytime, day or night (and they taste as good at 10:00 PM as they do at 10:00 AM), so tacos are the cop's best friend there.
  • Tim Horton's, far and away the largest coffee, baked goods and fast food chain in Canada, was founded by the hockey player Tim Horton, but his first investor and franchisee was Ron Joyce, a police constable who frequented Horton's shop on his beat. After Horton's death, Joyce took over the chain and expanded it into the empire it is today.
    • Instead of paying for security, Tim Horton's offers free menu items to members of Law Enforcement, encouraging police to frequent timmies.
  • In Portugal, the bifana (a marinated pork sandwich), normally accompanied with a beer and sometimes with french fries, is the stereotypical policeman's treat.
  • In Brazil, during the 80s, policemen were nicknamed "coxinhas" (a Brazilian chicken croquette), since a coxinha was one of the few things their small meal tickets would afford, making coxinha the donut equivalent to Brazilian cops. Nowadays, though, "coxinha" is rarely used to refer to cops, being mostly used as a pejorative term for conservatives and right-wingers in general.
  • In Mexico, policemen eating tacos with a cool soda is the local version of this trope, or sometimes replace the tacos with burgers or burritos. On the other hand, Mexican policemen eating donuts is a unusual sight, as donuts are more expensive in Mexico than in the U.S. and Canadanote  in specialized convenience stores, such as Seven Eleven, Oxxo and the like.note 
    • Meanwhile, Filipino cops prefer hanging out at panciterias (Chinese-style noodle houses).
    • In Sweden, police are stereotyped as obsessed with the local gatukök (literally "street kitchen", think somewhere between a hot-dog stand and a fast food restaurant), and many of these will have a "police-meal" somewhere, though what that meal actually is varies according to region and the culinary preferences of local law enforcement.
    • In Israel, the police are stereotyped as being crazy over shawarma, a dish consisting of roast meat cut into slices and stacked in a cone-like shape.
  • This news story has a case of a cop going about double the speed limit to get to a local donut shop, which is almost as unintentionally stereotypical as you can get.
  • At certain Greasy Spoons, the Hash House Lingo for donuts and coffee is "Cops and Robbers".
  • Countless convenience stores, donut stores, coffee shops, and the like evoke this trope by giving massive discounts or even outright freebies to cops in uniforms. Though it's not to say this isn't somewhat motivated by supporting the troops, the store owner's main interest is in having regular customers who carry guns, know first aid, and are able and obligated to help customers or employees in the event of a robbery or emergency.
  • In Lexington, Kentucky in December 2018, a Krispy Kreme truck caught fire on the highway. While no one was injured, the Lexington Police Department posted photos on Twitter of officers weeping next to the burned-out shell of the truck.
  • The Cop on a Rooftop fundraiser for Special Olympics Illinois, in which police officers spend the day at Dunkin Donuts locations, taking turns standing on the roof, to attract attention and donations.
  • One British officer was fired for trying to steal a box of donuts by scanning a carrot in its place. For bonus points, the linked article references this trope.

Alternative Title(s): Doughnut Mess With A Cop


Fetch the Donut

Courage uses a donut to distract a cop.

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Main / DonutMessWithACop

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