Rumors: The worst part about being a lady cop

“Yeah, that new blonde girl? I heard she slept with one of the instructors at the police academy.”

This was the first rumor that spread around my department when I was brand new. It was completely false, I was not fucking an instructor at the academy (or anyone else for that matter) and, even two years after the fact, I am still confused about how or why the rumor started.

I do know that, at the time, it originated and was perpetuated by an officer who I had never spoken to. I was 25, a brand new police recruit, and mortified some of my coworkers thought I had slept my way through the police academy. Plus, I was pissed.

At the academy, I had worked my butt off. I had the highest grades in my class, and I had gone through all the usual bullshit of getting punched in the face, Tased and pepper sprayed. And I would have rather gone through that a second time then figure out how to deal with an untrue rumor that undermined my hard work.

At the time, as tempting as it was to correct the record, and you know, punch that gossipy moron in his face, I ignored it. I went through field training, focused on working hard, and got through it. And eventually, that rumor disappeared.

When I became a cop, I had to learn how to shoot a gun, develop a command presence, and defend myself in a fight. The most the most difficult thing I had to learn, however, was how to deal with rumors.

Police departments have more gossip than a middle school gym locker room. It is a 24/7 operation, which provides a festering breeding ground for around-the-clock rumors. While everyone gets talked about by their coworkers at one point or another, I’ve noticed that women, especially if they are new, younger or attractive, they will be the center of department gossip at one point or another.

I’m not saying my male coworkers don’t have to deal with rumors, because I know they do. The difference, however, is that rumors about female officers seem to revolve around the theme of sex. For some reason, who we are or are not sleeping with becomes everyone’s business.

After a few years of working in this field, as well as collecting advice from some of my female coworkers, here is my advice to women wanting to enter this line of work:

As a female cop, a lot of people (citizens, coworkers, your coworkers’ families, etc.) will assume you’re a lesbian or you’re fsleeping with your married male coworkers. Or both. (Don’t ask me how people jump to both conclusions simultaneously, but believe me, it happens.)

In terms of dealing with those assumptions: It’s 2017, so who gives a shit if someone thinks you’re a lesbian. And who gives a shit if you actually are a lesbian. No one cares, and if they do, that is their problem.

As for sleeping with your coworkers, married or not, — just don’t do it. Unless you’re positive you will marry the guy and live happily ever after, it’s not worth it. That being said, I’ve never done it and I have several coworkers who are happily married to one another. But I’ve also seen first-hand the flaming pile of shit that explodes all over the department when things end poorly.

Another way to avoid rumors is to not go out drinking with your male coworkers, especially if you’re new and the only woman there.

I understand that I will never be “one of the boys.” And I’m okay with that. I don’t need to go to Hooters with them (off duty, of course), or Vegas, or anything else involving alcohol with a group of men I spend more than 40 hours a week with anyway.

I will never fully fit in with a large group of men, and I don’t try to, because I know if I do, someone somewhere in my department will decide I’m trying to ruin a marriage.

The best, and most basic advice I have in dealing with rumors, however, is to try your best to ignore it. The truth is, if a rumor starts about you, by next week, everyone will likely be gossiping about someone else’s mistake or indiscretion.

Ignore the rumors, and focus on working hard. Let the 24/7 gossip cycle of the department to run its course. Focus on your job, and don’t let gossip dictate how you do it.

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10 thoughts on “Rumors: The worst part about being a lady cop”

  1. I really appreciated this post. I was a non-sworn (parking officer, then dispatcher) female in the early 70’s at a mid-sized suburban California agency. I experienced all of what you described and decided for my sanity that I couldn’t combat those horrible rumors. There was always something as I was young (21), blond, cute, and had a smart ass mouth. One learns quickly, though.
    I liked this post enough to re-post it on mine: Just the Facts, Ma’am.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this! My son went through the Academy with one of the sweetest, most beautiful blonde you could ever meet. Whether there were rumors or not, I don’t know, but I know they all drooled over her. But the beautiful thing is…as dainty and gorgeous as she is, she can kick almost all their asses!! 😂

    Love reading your take on things!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You hit the nail on the head. There will always be rumours, just ignore them most are fishing expeditions. Happens in every career. I would add when your the rookie try not to over do it and be ‘the best’. Each team has a certain dynamic a certain flow and you have to fit yourself into that flow. This job is a lot of teamwork. No cowboys or cowgirls here or you will find yourself very lonely and no one to hustle to back you up. Make sure you laugh each day because we see a lot of funny people/incidents out there. I had an impaired driver, whom was transported to the hospital after the car crash, ask the doctor in emerg to marry ‘us’ like me and him. This guy was sooo drunk. I was not impressed. I told the guy the only date you will get from me is a court date! The doctor was in stitches literally and figuratively.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are very articulate and I can relate to what you are saying (as a male and former cop). Some cops are very mean-spirited and I can imagine how they conduct themselves in the presence of their sons and daughters. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

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