Movies are there for the entertainment of viewers which sends a message to people. This message may either be harmful or useful to the public. People learn about the lifestyle of cops, duty, and how citizens together with cops can work together for societal growth. Police officers are human, so cops are not exempted from errors while conducting patrols or handling tasks in office. Nevertheless, this should not be a free pass to oppress people because of the power bestowed on them. Movies try to display these characters regardless of their nature. Other times film productions have the wrong concept of cops and produce movies that strongly differ from reality.
These differences bring about stereotypes that are generated by a lack of correct information about the police. Stereotypes are basically misconceptions about an idea that creates a wrong perception. In films, you see police on duty firing their arms easily without protocol, which is not the case in reality. For any office to pull a trigger, paperwork must be filled and thereafter a follow-up will be made concerning the events. A cop in a movie will fire a gun, next day goes to fieldwork without investigation. It is contrary to what happens, as you will be put on administrative duty as they find out if you violated the laws or not.
Another wrong idea TV show is selling, is the idea of existence of high-tech equipment in police departments. The budget of the US receives funding from revenues collected from taxpayers’ money, so the budget is limited and cannot accommodate expensive computers plus application of complex technology. The technology in movies is ahead of time as it shows how cops can easily acquire information from the available sources. The technology employed in policing agencies is not sophisticated or the genius computer wizards that hack and decode information.
A crime scene is not a Super Bowl Sunday, this is so due to the limitation of the number of cops who can be at a crime scene. Films portray that if you are an officer you can walk into a crime scene unquestioned. Truth be told, a limited number of officers access the scene to avoid tampering with evidence. Crime scene specialists manage the site as they try to extract sensitive evidence. Departments keep tabs on individuals visiting the site to monitor their intentions. The notion of police bursting up in a place, being unauthorized should not be sold to the viewers.
Absence of vigilance detectives in real life, as opposed to movies, where a detective’s family is killed, and they become vigilantes to avenge their families’ death. This should not mean that there are no dirty cops out there. There is a thin line between a vigilante cop and a dirty cop. The latter is a criminal in blue who has legal protection that he uses for self-defense, while a vigilante has no legal authority, they don’t use the law to defend themselves. Stories of vigilante operatives are not as common as they appear in movies.
While on a raid mission, breaking doors is never easy for operatives. You usually see cops kicking down suspects’ door without sweating during a rescue mission. Cops while breaching doors breaking with one kick, still, this technique is hard for even the most trained personnel. That act of hitting doors like soccer balls is overrated plus events don’t end the way movies do. Solving a crime is time-consuming and not easy because facts have to justify events that happened. There is no chance an investigator can handle a complex case alone and within 20 minutes. Some cases are not solved that’s why criminals may get away with their activities.
In TV shows, even if a cop goes through mental disturbing situations, they still maintain their cool as well as behave normally. Operatives show no sign of weakness and emotions, yet, in reality, cops are humans too. They undergo traumatic experiences, especially after a murder case. Officers handling emergencies may be vulnerable to PTSD, which they rarely go for treatment. These stereotypes make people see officers as stoics, machines that can handle any situation without struggles. This is a wrong perception that should be avoided by advising viewers that those are fictitious events with fictitious characters.