How do police feel about being called pigs?

Q: I was walking on the plaza recently and heard several of the kids who hang around the fountain calling an officer a "pig" among other colorful words. The officer did a good job of seeming to ignore the insults but I am wondering how much this bugs you guys?

A: As anyone who is either related to or friends with a police officer can tell you, being called a "pig" is not something that bothers an officer. Well, I'm sure somewhere out there is an officer that gets really annoyed when he or she hears it but I've never met one. Honestly, it's pretty predictable and usually, at most, results in an officer rolling their eyes. We learn early on in our careers to not take things personally.

When I first began working in law enforcement I was surprised that so many officers collected pig items. I know several officers that have little pigs hanging from their work key chains.

You have to have a really good sense of humor as an officer, especially about yourself. Any officer that lets name calling get to them probably won't be on the job very long. Many of the situations that we encounter are in no way something that you can laugh at, so you try to hold on to the funny moments. It helps balance out the job.

I've been chased by an elderly woman who was trying to hit me with a broom (I was there to arrest her grandson), flipped off by a pastor (because he got a traffic ticket) and called many delightful names that make "pig" seem like an endearment. Those might not seem like funny moments to some but to a cop they can be very humorous. What other choice do we have but to laugh? So those kids can keep calling us names if they want to. It might just make a great story for us to tell later.

Q: I heard an officer say that he had "PC" to arrest someone. What does that mean?

A: "PC" is the shortened way that an officer says they have probable cause to do something. Usually it is in regards to an arrest, traffic stop, search or request for a warrant. The term probable cause comes from the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Probable cause is weaker than the standard of evidence that is used to convict a person of a crime but stronger than reasonable suspicion. Oregon Revised Statute 131.615 gives Oregon officers the authority to stop a person with reasonable suspicion that the person has committed or is about to commit a crime. The officer would need probable cause to make an arrest.

Send your questions to Ask-Apd@ashland.or.us. Have information and don't want to talk to an officer? Call the APD Anonymous Tip Line at 552-2333.