Why Are Police Called Cops?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 2, 2020 7:33:50 AM ET
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Use of the term "cop" to refer to a police officer came about because a "copper" is someone who captures or seizes something in English slang. The word "cop" came to mean apprehension in the mid-19th century, and since police officers often capture or seize criminals, English officers came to be known as "coppers." The tradition spread to the United States, and eventually it was shortened to "cop."