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Quotes / Police Are Useless

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    Comic Books 
Batroc: I believe... is very reckless to deprive New York of its emergency services while you conduct a firefight in ze middle of the city.
Gwen: [...]Ha ha, okay. Here's the thing with the cops here. They are just another plot device to further the existence of super heroes. I'm from a world without super heroes. I know how cops are supposed to be, okay? If you had a halfway competent C.I.A., you wouldn't need S.H.I.E.L.D. If your military could fight the Skrulls, you wouldn't need the Avengers. And if your joke cops could stop a single bank robbery, then you wouldn't need Spider-Man. Your world never needed the police. And it will survive for a few minutes while I shoot some aliens without those police.

    Films — Live-Action 
Corey: How do you explain the car that came out of nowhere?
Cop: How do you explain midgets or sock monkeys? I don't know. Look, shit happens.

I'm not sure I agree 100% on your police work there, Lou.
Marge, Fargo

We're police officers! We're not trained to handle this level of violence!
Erwin, Demolition Man

(Tony the Hotdog Vendor reads a newspaper headlined "Headhunter-3, Cops-0")
Tony: What does "een-com-pee-dent" mean?
Lt. Moran: That mayor, he calls me at 2 o'clock in the morning. I mean, I don't even answer the phone anymore.
Tony: Hey! What does "BAFFLED" mean? Hehehehe! Ha ha ha ha!

Stu: Kill me now, and you give yourself away.
Caller: Not with a silencer. It would take these guys the rest of the day to figure out it wasn't one of their own men that did it. You can be shot 41 times for pulling out your wallet.

Col. Trautman: I don't think you understand. I didn't come to rescue Rambo from you. I came here to rescue you from him.
Sheriff Teasle: Well, we all appreciate your concern Colonel, I will try to be extra careful!
Trautman: I'm just amazed he allowed any of your "posse" to live.

You know what really chaps my hide? It's the way you pledged an oath to serve and protect — and then you don't give a rat's ass when something really happens!
Reese Wilson, campus police officer, Urban Legend

911 Dispatcher: Whoever you are, sir, this frequency is for emergencies only.
John McClane: No fuckin' shit, lady! Do I sound like I'm ordering a pizza?!
Die Hard, after John McClane tries to use an emergency frequency to contact the emergency services to report an emergency.

Dwayne T. Robinson: This is Deputy Chief of Police, Dwayne T. Robinson, and I am in charge of this situation.
John McClane: Oh, you're in charge? Well, I got some bad news for you Dwayne, from up here it doesn't look like you're in charge of jack shit.

"When are you gonna take Costello, huh? I mean, what's wrong with taking him on any one of the million fucking felonies that you've seen him do, or I've seen him do? I mean, I mean, he murdered somebody, right? The guy fucking murders somebody, and you don't fucking take him! What are you waiting for, honestly? I mean, do you want him to chop me up and feed me to the poor? Is that what you guys want?"
Billy Costigan, The Departed

Maria Beltran: Should I call the police?
John Rambo: Cops can't cross the border. Down there, they don't do shit.

Two balaclava-wearing thieves reversed a pickup against my garage and attempted to pull the doors off. I woke in time and lit up the house to distract them; they went away without any sign of panic. The sight of balaclavas at 1:00 on a Sunday morning struck terror into my wife and me. When the police arrived, they deduced that the villains were probably after my Honda mower. The law had no comfort to offer, and tacitly conceded that they are a beaten lot, a spent force. The fear we felt was terrific. All this terror for a mower. Even if it is a Honda...Now I keep the Honda by my bed, and it's not easy to go for a pee in the middle of the night. Life is not so comfortable. On the bedside table, for fear of more balaclavas, I keep an axe. My intention is to chop off my own head before they can get to me.
Tom Baker, Who On Earth Is Tom Baker?

Officer Behaim: Honestly? The average cop is pretty darn good. But average is average. You think about what average usually gets you, and then you figure that half the people out there are below that average. That’s anywhere. Even here. And you can be better than average, while still having a trend that isn’t so good. Like having an awful lot of good cops who are still guys. Guys with families, wives, girlfriends, kids, guys who just want to work and go home at the end of the day.
Officer Vargas: Good guys, but you spend too many years on a job, you’ll start to take shortcuts, move things along…
Officr Behaim: Human nature. You don’t look like the sort that puts an awful lot of stock in the inherent good of human beings.

    Live-Action TV 
Crow: Shouldn't we call the police or something?
Servo: Eh, we didn't last time and things seemed to work out.

Welcome to Whose Line, where everything is made up and the points don't matter. That's right, the points are just like the police in Columbia.
Drew Carey, Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

The police are just a janitorial service used to clean up your blood after you've been murdered.
Wynn Duffy, Justified

Al Large: Are you sayin' you won't help us?
P.C. Joe Penhale: I'm sayin' I can't. My hands are tied by the law.
Bert Large: Do you know what, Joe? The law is an ass.
Doc Martin, "Cats & Sharks"

Criminals are stupid, and I'm always one step behind them!
Officer Don, 3rd Rock from the Sun

When you're looking to get somebody arrested, bad guys can't always be counted on to commit crimes on your schedule. Sometimes you have to give them a little push. Once you've got a crime in progress, you can let the authorities take over. That assumes, of course, that the authorities are paying attention.
Michael, Burn Notice

I'm not even fit to wear this uniform! I'M! A! DIS-! GRACE!"
Constable Funnyname, Rex the Runt

Cop: (concluding investigation of robbery at Jerry's apartment) Well, Mr. Seinfeld, uh, we'll look into it, and we'll let you know if we, you know, if we find anything.
Jerry: Do you ever find anything?
Cop: (pause) No.
Seinfeld, "The Robbery"

Odo: You'll get sloppy without me to keep an eye on you.
Quark: I don't think so. You've kept me on my toes for far too long.
Odo: Sure. I've turned you into a better crook.
Quark: Like it or not!
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "A Man Alone"

Lois Lane: You aren't going to look for clues, or dust for prints?
Insp. Henderson: Waste of time.
Lois: Waste of — Let me tell you a little story, Henderson.
Henderson: Shoot.
Lois: It's late at night. A sweet, innocent little old lady, probably someone's grandmother, is preparing for bed. Suddenly, burglars break in, knock her down and steal her life savings from underneath the mattress. Wanna know why?
Henderson: Why?
Lois: Because some cop like you was too lazy to dust for prints on a prior, so the burglars were never caught!
Henderson: Good story.
Lois: Thank you.
Henderson: Now I got one. Wanna hear it?
Lois: Shoot.
Henderson: That same "sweet, innocent, little old grandmother" is preparing for bed when she hears burglars breaking into her house. She rushes to the phone and dials 9-11... but by the time help comes, it's too late. Wanna know why?
Lois: Why?
Henderson: Because all the good cops are out somewhere else, dusting for prints. (stomps off)
Lois & Clark, "Foundling"

Rawls: You will reduce the UCR felonies by 5% or more, or...and I've always wanted to say this - "let no man come back alive".
Burrell: In addition, we will hold this year's murders to 275 or less.
Rawls: There is no excuse I will accept. I don't care how you do it. Just fuckin' do it.
Colvin: (wearily) Uh, deputy? [...] I think we all understand there are certain 'processes' by which you can reduce the number of overall felonies. You can reclassify an agg assault or you can unfound a robbery... but, ah, how do you make a body disappear?

The police can't help, Chuck. All the police in the world can't help.
Carly Beth Caldwell, Goosebumps

Oscar: Is it illegal for kids to smoke?
Davis: [shrugs] What am I, a lawyer?

"First cop down there was pretty much a prick. He came down there, and we were showing him [the skull we found] and everything, and he threw a rock at it and said, "Yeah, it's real. Now you guys have opened a big investigation." He just kept going on and on, like we did something wrong."
Tim Lyons, Forensic Files, "Skin of her teeth"

Detective Lassiter: Where were you the night of the last robbery?
Shawn: I was robbing the stereo shop. [Detectives Lassiter and Barry glare suspiciously at him; Shawn laughs] I wasn't! I wasn't. I dunno, I guess I was doing the same thing you were doing; not solving crimes.
Shawn: I'm actually a suspect?
Detective Lassiter: Oh, you're our lead suspect.
Shawn: I gave you the guy!
Detective Lassiter: He had a partner.
Shawn: I have to find that guy now? I'm confused; when do you start chipping in?

Get up, get get get down
Nine One One is a joke in your town

Last night I heard the screaming
Loud voices behind the wall
Another sleepless night for me
It won't do no good to call
The police always come late
If they come at all
Tracy Chapman, "Behind the Wall"

Cops here try so hard, to look just like movie stars...
They couldn't catch a cold, baby don't waste your dime
Tom Waits, "$29:00" - Blue Valentine.

Get the dawgs,
Let's go fuck with old folks!
Rucka Rucka Ali, "Go Cops"

    Print Media 
This is a pattern that will repeat itself many times during the long night. "How are you gettin' out of here?" asks Sgt. Quinn... It never occurs to him to search the prisoner for the keys. I can't say much for his police work.
Roger Ebert on Reach the Rock (1998)

When the foeman bares his steel,
We uncomfortable feel.
Sergeant of Police, The Pirates of Penzance

    Video Games 
"About an hour or so back, I heard a gunshot. Naturally, I ignored it, until someone came and got me."
Marshal Friedman, Borderlands 2

"The police? You're putting your faith in the police!? You guys, seriously... Do you understand what role the police exist to fill? All they're good for is being a foil, playing against a villain or anti-hero or evil organization. The bad guys come along and destroy them, and that shows just how badass they really are. Are you sure you wanna rely on such an unreliable group of losers?"

"Blake, I've had just about enough of your shit! You've been chasing this guy for what, two years, and what have you found, huh? Nothing! Abso-fucking-lutely nothing!"
Norman Jayden, Heavy Rain

Passos: I ain't waiting to see who else shows up!
Max: [V.O.] I thought about saying "the cops". But this was no time for bad jokes.
Max Payne 3

Ryu: Everyone knows the police are famous for being a bunch of cowards.
Lloyd: What?
Ryu: Dad's always sayin' that even though they act all high-and-mighty, they never actually help anyone. He told me that in times of need, I should always count on the bracers.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero (Geofront translation)

    Web Animation 
Oddly specific trope of the day: we have to find some contrived reason for our detective protagonist to be working on this case alone and underequipped. Uhhh... I know! The lazy chief investigator declared it a suicide and moved on!

When I showed the officer my ID, he refused to believe a 17-year-old from North Carolina was attending a college up the street and therefore refused to believe anything else I had to say. He refused me a restraining order, he refused to even investigate. He threw my license back at me and said, "Next time, leave the adult things to the adults, OK, sweetheart? And if you go running back to your little boyfriend, don't call us." And look, I understand that might be hard to believe, but the fact is, this is what happens in these kinds of cases. Some cops are nice, some cops are helpful, and then some just don't see how fatal these situations can be.
Illymation, How I Left My Abusive (ex) Boyfriend

    Web Comics 
All this work is such a pain. It's like people expect the police to solve crimes or something. Nanako, get Daddy another beer.

It's not that I don't believe you, if you can make fire appear out of nowhere I'll take the rest on faith, but I can't file a police report with the story you're giving me and be taken seriously. We can't press charges against a werewolf for starting a magical fire that caused no property damage... the justice system isn't set up to deal with your kind of problems.
Detective Rogers, in a justified case, Demon Thesis

Reed Bahia: Dad helps people, right?
Mom Bahia: Of course, it's his job. Why do you ask?
Reed: Police always seem so useless in comics 'n' movies.
Mom: It's just because that makes things more interesting for the hero. But in real life, your dad has to do the hero's job.

"Next up is a suit for procedural malfeasance, including false arrest, dereliction of duty, excessive force, and incompetence. I like to think of it as the 'impersonating a police force' suit. It'll play well on the news."
Massey, Schlock Mercenary

    Web Original 
The local sports talk station's morning show is hosted by former Chief of Police AND convicted felon Ed Norris (whose main criteria for screening calls seems to be anyone willing to say "they really screwed you/you're one of the good guys") and he and his co-host spent the better part of a month saying "let's wait until all the evidence comes out" in regards to passing judgment on Ray Rice. Unfortunately, this was the month AFTER the video of him dragging his unconscious fiancé by the hair like a caveman went viral.

80% of the time: An average guy on a slight power trip just doing what told to do and wasting other peoples' time. Cops are usually trained to think that they're "better" than citizens. Can commonly be found writing tickets, drinking coffee, and eating donuts. Perhaps sometimes they break up parties, pull over someone for DUI, or something similar. Not very adept at thinking, though.

We know who did it! It's the guy who's unconscious and immobilized at the scene of the crime, where the stolen goods are nowhere to be seen! God, I love being a cop! It's so easy!"

As slow as people are to accept that they're dealing with the supernatural, cops are always the last ones to catch on. They can watch The Blob dissolve through a kindergarten and suggest out loud that they must have drank too much this morning. No matter what, a cop in a science fiction movie uses drugs as the explanation for everything. Did a dead body get up and eat the coroner? 'PCP.' Did a viking frost giant knock down a skyscraper? 'Stack of PCP abusers.' Did Star Man bring a dead deer back to life? 'That's just what gay sex looks like when you see it for the first time.'

After six sequels, the Saw plot only makes sense if you assume everyone in the world is a psychotic invalid. And since a lot of them went to see Saw seven times, the assumption is pretty accurate.
Luke McKinney, Cracked

Chief Sterns makes absolutely no sense. Is he on the take? Is that why he wants to shut down April’s investigation? Is he being threatened by the Foot? Or is he just that much of a dick that he bribes her boss with keeping his son in jail so that she’ll get fired for asking him questions? Which is, you know, her job.
Chris Sims and Matt Wilson on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

In the '70s and '80s, when comic books and their readers 'grew up', readers began to question why Gotham's police force were so damn ineffectual in dealing with the master criminals who murder people, and blow up buildings, and shrink things with ray guns on a monthly basis. Some writers, most notably Frank Miller, asserted that the GCPD was a corrupt institution... In the Schumacher-verse, however, it's entirely possible that Commissioner Gordon and his whole staff are shit-thick, incompetent, useless pencil-pushers who couldn't find their dicks with two hands and a map.

Blue beats up a cop, escapes from custody, and takes Michael by gunpoint. People don’t hear from Michael and they list him as a missing person. The cop interviews his wife and asks 'Does he have any mental problems? Any excuse why he would run away?' ASSHOLES, AN ESCAPED CONVICT KIDNAPPED HIM! This was not done in some vacuum here? The cop personally witnessed Blue kidnap Michael at gunpoint! In fact, you have dozens of eyewitnesses because the kidnapping happened in public. What the hell is the matter with you people!?
Miles Antwiler on The Sunchaser (1996)

I find it very funny that the writers could go down the route of painting Tooms as an innocent victim, and watching the kangaroo court playing out which puts him in the best possible light (with Mulder the raving dissenter) makes you believe that the American legal system wants more serial killers out on the streets! Tooms longing for his defence attorney’s liver whilst he is trying to get him off the hook made me howl with laughter…you always bite the hand that feeds you!
Joe Ford on The X-Files, "Tooms"

Jailbird good guys:

Clark: Desiree frames him for blowing up her car in Heat, 2x02; he beats three goons severely to protect Lana, and the sheriff carts him off, 2x19; In Lionel's body, starts a jailhouse rock and barely makes it out alive, 4x06; arrested by stereotypical chinese soldiers for interrogation for no real reason, 4x15; arrested in a strip club, 5x06; framed for the murder of a suspect while posing as a cop, 8x12; Almost arrested for the murder of Lex, which he had nothing to do with, 8x15

Lex: Accused of nine murders in the undead project Lionel headed up by a snotty detective who hates the FBI, 3x16; Jailed for a murder he didn't commit, got bail quickly, 4x09 (Not shown in show); arrested by stereotypical chinese soldiers for interrogation for no real reason, 4x15; In the season six finale (6x22), Lex is also arrested for murdering Lana Lang with no trail of evidence and/or body; Arrested for the murder of Lana Lang, which he did not commit, 7x01

Lana: 4x15 Aided and abetted in the theft of a Mustang because Seth made her do it. A likely excuse!
Neal Bailey, "The Smallville K.O. Count"

    Web Videos 
There you can see Santa Monica's finest police officers, doing what they do best- standing aroud doing nothing at all and just sort of hoping the crime solves itself!
Marik Ishtar, Marik Plays Bloodlines

Fred Thompson, shut yer trap! SHUT UP! Let her go look for her baby! She'd probably have found it by now. You haven't gotten shit done!

HOLY SHIT, the police do exist! Their response time to a 911 call is about a month in this city, but it's about time!
Noah Antwiler on Massacre at Central High's ending

Great, it's the 'Cop at the Door' scene. Which is totally never in any of these home invasion movies.
The Cinema Snob, Mother's Day (2010)

Know why these guys are trying to rescue the owner? Because the CIA and the FBI apparently they suck! LOOK AT THE PLOT! I'M NOT KIDDING!

I wish real cops were this passive.

    Western Animation 
Sheriff Blubs: Hold one a minute, do you have a permit for those [fireworks]?
Grunkle Stan: Uh, do you have a permit for being totally lame?
Sheriff Blubs: Well I can't argue with that. Carry on.
Gravity Falls, "Not What He Seems"

Due to budget cuts, we only have the resources to enforce the last law passed. It's not the best system, in fact, it's pretty much the worst system. (looks at Snake randomly shooting passersby from the roof of the Kwik-E-Mart) Yeah, we'd have been all over that in the old days.
Chief Wiggum, The Simpsons

Whadda we have here, the long flabby arm of the law? The last case you got to the bottom of was a case of Mallomars!
—- Ned Flanders, The Simpsons, "Hurricane Neddy"

See, we've got an open door policy here now. We just ask that you keep it closed out of respect for my authority.
Sheriff, Squidbillies

Okay, Officer Barbrady, let's pretend our town had a competent police force. What would they do?
Mayor McDaniels, South Park


How well does it match the trope?

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