Why are policemen called cops?

Published February 1, 2021, 2:39 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

There are so many theories regarding the origin of the word cop to mean police officers, among them is that it was actually an acronym for Constable on Patrol, or it originated from the copper buttons of police uniforms before, and that it was derived from the Anglo-Saxon word which means to ‘catch’ or ‘seize’.

Philippine National Police (PNP) (Official Gazette / File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)
Philippine National Police (PNP)
(Official Gazette / File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

 But for Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, the deputy chief for Administration of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the word cop simply refers to the main obligation of the police— as the Caretaker Of People.  He was quoting Abhijit Naskar, a celebrated neuroscientist and international best-selling author.

 In his speech during the 30th Police Service Anniversary on Monday, Eleazar said police service has improved a lot in the last three decades since the creation of the PNP on January 29, 1991 through a law that separated the police from the military.

 Despite serious threat even from the coronavirus pandemic, Eleazar said policemen have been at the forefront of running after criminals, from the street criminals on the streets to big-time criminal elements that include those involved in illegal drugs trade.

 “In the last 30 years,  we faced numerous serious challenges in the performance of our duty—from being ridiculed, called with different offensive names and demonized—that tested our character and mindset. But we persistently held on and proved to our critics who we are and what we are made of as men in a badge and blue uniform,” said Eleazar.

 “The foundation of the Philippine National Police of today was built not only on the blood, limb and life of our brothers in uniforms but also on the best practices and even the mistakes wherein we all learned the lessons to make our organization truly responsive to our motto of serving and protecting the Filipino people,” he added.

Eleazar then quoted American Artificial Intelligence researcher and writer Eliezer Yudkowsky who praised policemen for putting everything on the line in the enforcement of the laws.

 “The Police Officer who puts their life on the line with no superpowers, no X-ray vision, no super-strength, no ability to fly and most of all no invulnerability to bullets reveals far greater virtue than Superman— who is merely a superhero,” said Eleazar.

“Indeed, we may be no superheroes but I say that the transformation that we have undergone in the last 30 years and the full support system that we enjoyed under the administration of President Duterte have turned each and every one of us into a Super-COP—the Super—Caretaker of the People, of the Filipino people,” he added.