400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons From a Veteran Patrolman

  • by Adam Plantinga
  • Narrated by Mark Boyett
  • 7 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

How does it feel to be in a high-speed car chase? What is it like to shoot someone? What do cops really think about the citizens they serve? Nearly everyone has wondered what it's like to be a police officer, but no civilian really understands what happens on the job.
400 Things Cops Know shows police work on the inside, from the viewpoint of the regular cop on the beat - a profession that can range from rewarding to bizarre to terrifying, all within the course of an eight-hour shift. Written by veteran police sergeant Adam Plantinga, 400 Things Cops Know brings the listener into life the way cops experience it - a life of danger, frustration, occasional triumph, and plenty of grindingly hard routine work. In a laconic, no-nonsense, dryly humorous style, Plantinga tells what he's learned from 13 years as a patrolman, from the everyday to the exotic - how to know at a glance when a suspect is carrying a weapon or is going to attack, how to kick a door down, how to drive in a car chase without recklessly endangering the public, why you should always carry cigarettes, even if you don't smoke (offering a smoke is the best way to lure a suicide to safety), and what to do if you find a severed limb (don't put it on ice - you need to keep it dry.)
400 Things Cops Know deglamorizes police work, showing the gritty, stressful, sometimes disgusting reality of life on patrol, from the possibility of infection - criminals don't always practice good hygiene - to the physical, psychological, and emotional toll of police work. Plantinga shows what cops experience of death, the legal system, violence, prostitution, drug use, the social causes and consequences of crime, alcoholism, and more. Sometimes heartbreaking and often hilarious, 400 Things Cops Know is an eye-opening revelation of what life on the beat is really all about.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Well Done. Misinformation present but minimal.

Where does 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons From a Veteran Patrolman rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?


What was one of the most memorable moments of 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons From a Veteran Patrolman?

Sgt. Platinga put together a very refreshing, entertaining, "mostly accurate", accessible reality check for citizens. This isn't a book on how to beat the police. Sgt. Platinga does a great job of mixing in just the right amount of "misinformation" to protect a few necessary secrets and a few tricks of the trade. I will only give up one sample; Police cars are far from "mere Detroit steel with transmissions that fall out". Disclaimer: the quality, maintenance and dependability will depend on what ghetto you work in. However, even in the ghetto you're getting "hand me down" no smog, "enhanced" pieces of junk, which beat the local junk. *** It's a Great listen, listen to it a few times, you'll come away with a much better understanding of your local LEO and the nonsense they deal with, delivered in a very straightforward approach with a perfect dash of humor. It's not an easy job (I have it on good authority). Well done Adam!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me smile. : )

Any additional comments?

Bad Cop, No Doughnut!

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- Slam Bones

Between Good and Evil is Where I Walk

I am one of those people that spend my Saturday mornings in my old blue bathrobe and a pair of scuffed slippers, cup of coffee in my hand, catching up on my important reading. No, not 'The New York Times' and 'The Harvard Business Review' - I listen to those during the week on Audible on my long commute. I mean 'The Onion' and 'Duffel Blog'; and, of course and almost obsessively, the lists of Cracked dot com. I blame Audible for the latter - I'd never heard of Cracked dot com until "You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News" (2014).

Adam Plantinga's "400 Things Cops Know: Street Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman" (2014) fits right into my weekend reading. It's part sociology; part practical advice; and part philosophy, woven together with humor and pathos. Chapters include, "19 Things Cops Know About Working with the Public," with helpful advice for a cop not to yell back at the public because that means the public owns the cop. "17 Things Cops Know About Juveniles," is funny and sad, like Plantinga's observation that some parents seem to want medals for not giving their children up for adoption. Plantinga's seen tattooed 5th graders and armed grade schoolers. He describes frisking an eight year old burglary suspect as "frisking a frog." He muses on whether or not kids can form criminal intent, and whether arresting them is the right thing - and admits he doesn't know the answer. He hopes someone does.

Plantinga's dry wit and unperturbable style reminds me of Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Buchanan's nonfiction book "The Corpse Had a Familiar Face: Covering Miami, America's Hottest Beat" (1987). Plantinga and Buchanan love law enforcement with a refreshing lack of true cynicism. I reread Buchanan's book so many times the paperback cover came off in my hands. I'm glad my electronic copy of "400 Things Cops Know" won't wear out - well, because I've already listened to some parts again. If I actually write a book someday and if there's a cop in it, I want her to be believable. Writers like Joseph Wambaugh ("The Onion Field" (1973), etc.) and Lee Child ("Killing Floor" (1997), the Jack Reacher series) swear by the book.

This Audible Studios edition wasn't so great. Mark Boyett is a good performer, but this needed a proofreader, or, more aptly, a proof listen. There were places where text was repeated, and a few times the wrong word was read - like the word "deaf" for "dead." That's an editor issue, though, not a writer or performer problem.

The title of the review is a quote from the book - and Plantinga is quoting a partner.

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- Cynthia

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-09-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios