Undercover cops: if they're skilled, you'll never know. Spoiler alert, however - so many drugs.
rocotaco42 asked former undercover cops of Reddit: What is the craziest thing you had to do to not blow your cover?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
It's an all-consuming job.
My dad did undercover for several years and talked about a meth head that he hung out with all the time and even babysat her kids when she went out to get high. This went on for several months while they were figuring out who the big dealer was and acquiring warrants. He grew a beard, had a fake id, drove an old shitty car. Eventually they got warrants to bust a bunch of people in the drug ring and he actually was part of the SWAT team at the time and was part of the group that smashed in doors and arrested her and a bunch of others in the area.
He had to wear a balaclava to protect his identity when with the SWAT team. He said it was actually really difficult because he had become an important part of those kids' lives and was kind of attached to them and now they had no mother and had to be taken to child protective services. I never got to ask him more questions about this before he passed but I have no idea how he balanced this crazy second life and then came home and acted like a normal husband and father in our family.
Sounds kinda fun tbh.
I must have been 15 when one day the door bell rang and I opened the door to two guys looking very much like real tough street guys. They showed me their badges and asked for my mum or dad. Turned out that they wanted to stake out a public playground behind our garden that was used by some drug dealers for their mules (people drinking large amounts of water and puking up little packages with some substance in it). There was a multi-storey Bank near the playground but the bank didn't want anything to do with it. So they asked my parents whether they could set up a surveillance team on our terrace for a couple of days. My parents allowed it. And my mum prepared food for the guys all week long.
Your mom is a legend.
Jack Bauer style.
I know a guy who often went undercover as a junkie. He was committed. He'd stop showering for a while before a gig and piss on his tracksuit before going in to work. He was so good that he managed to get the same dealer convicted twice in the space of a year and they never suspected he was the rat. He had multiple police records under different names too.
- Piss on your tracksuit.
- Go to local police station.
- Become an undercover cop.
Accountability, who knew.
City Cop here.
We don't do too much long term undercover but our General Orders have a policy covering use of drugs on duty in certain circumstances. While it doesn't specify that we can do drugs, it states that if we consume them we have to immediately respond to our Departments health clinic for documentation and treatment.
The use of the word immediately made me imagine the undercover cop taking a puff of a joint and standing up straight away speeddialling the department and walking out reporting the incident.
"Fine I'll hit that doobie bruh, I NEED IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION!"
Not a cop but a guy my mom dated for a long time was. Older guy, in his 70s now, he was fresh out of the academy and at the Asbury Park Riots. Sad scary sh!t. And then was an under cover narcotics cop for 14 years during the 70 and 80s with the NJSP. He was Puerto Rican, and spoke Spanish, was an ex marine, and became a state trooper. They utilized his ability to blend in with organized crime in the Latin community.
He had to do drugs in front of a bunch of dudes during a buy one night, and basically stuck his knife in and blew a mound up his nose. Then he started having a minor paranoia/panic attack that they were going to find out he was a cop. He was breathing heavy and went out for air, his heart was pounding out of his chest, panicking over how to get out of it, one of the gangsters came outside to talk to him, he's ready to run or fight, guy goes "You ok?!" The Guy was really nice, brings him a drink and they smoked a cig. Everyone is joking that he has the heart of a lion to take that much. He actually felt bad about locking that one guy up when it all went down. Think he said he tried to help him or get a reduced sentence or something. There are other stories.
That's some impressive cover.
My father worked for NCIS. He told me about an incident where his guys set up a sting to bust some drug suppliers who turned out to be local police setting up their own sting. They figured it out when they tried to bust each other.
That's hilarious. I'm sure the real drug dealers in the area thought it was too.
They were pretty embarrassed all around. I'm sure they tried hard to keep it under wraps.
Well hey at least you know they did their job well if not even the other cops suspected them!
EDIT: Thinking about it now they only way the other cops would expect them is if they were actively looking for other cops, because if you were just looking for criminal behavior then you would probably overlook anything that might blow their cover, right?
There can be a steep price to pay.
I once was the gardener for a cop who worked undercover in the sex trade to identify pimps/traffickers. She retired early due to mental health issues likely stemming from drug use during her time undercover. To keep cover she would do the drugs that were being offered/used. Of course things spiralled out of control for her and suddenly she's on permanent paid leave and she stays in the house most days hiding from the world. So for her, what she did to keep cover is offer up her sanity in exchange for some successful arrests.
Stomach of steel.
Not very exciting but a guy that worked with me was going to this biker bar frequently to get in with a gang (drug related). He didn't want to get hammered and do something stupid so he would take his beers into the bathroom with him dump out half and fill it with water.
Drinking watered down beer is the real crime. That sh*t sounds gross.
It's worked for the big American breweries for the last century.
Bootleg liquor, still.
My cousin was an under cover ATF agent. Anyway, they were trying to bust some guys for illegal alcohol distribution and were building a rapport by going under cover. My cousin doesn't take his ATF badge with him when he's undercover because if anyone ever saw it, he could get shot. Anyway, some hot-headed black-and-white cops came over and started harassing them. My cousin couldn't blow his cover, but pretty soon the police started getting physical and they beat crap out of my cousin and the guys he is trying to get evidence from. They take them all into the police station only to find out that my cousin is ATF. My cousin was pissed because cops aren't supposed to beat people up. He is currently filing a law suit against that police dept.
Good on your cousin for filing a law suit and actually trying to get some justice and those cops. And he deserves a promotion for managing to keep his cover through all that.
He's like a secret shopper but for cops.
Have you ever encountered an undercover officer in action?