Take the Quiz

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Here’s a little visual quiz I put together to illustrate the way cops and soldiers are increasingly difficult to tell apart. There are 21 images. All police photos are from domestic U.S. police agencies. A couple of the “soldier” photos are from foreign military.  I blurred or blacked out insignias that would give away the answer.


Cop or Soldier? » Make A Quiz

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127 Responses to “Take the Quiz”

  1. #1 |  noahpoah | 

    You can see the word “sheriff” pretty clearly in the first picture.

  2. #2 |  noahpoah | 

    Oh, I see. That wasn’t part of the quiz. Well, I typed ‘cop’ thinking it was, only to realize then that my name for the quiz will be cop.

    I’m dumb.

  3. #3 |  noahpoah | 

    …except that when I submitted that second comment, the page reloaded and I was able to type noahpoah instead of cop. I believe I’m still dumb, just in a different way than before.

  4. #4 |  Jozef | 

    15/21. Once I realized to look for facial expressions and assigned “cop” to all dumb/vacant/clueless faces, the test became fairly easy.

  5. #5 |  Anthony | 

    Seven years in the army and I only get 14 right? Fuck.
    Picture #12: M60 machine gun and an AT4 (modern bazooka) from the back of an armored vehicle? What?

  6. #6 |  Cynical in New York | 

    Government street thug is more like it

  7. #7 |  marco73 | 

    I just chose “cop” for everything, except the one picture from Afghanistan that I believe I saw in the news recently. Got 13 of 21.
    Close enough for government work.

  8. #8 |  Ross | 

    17/21. Although that was because I figured that Cops had shinier equipment and anything ridiculously military looking was probably a picture of a cop and vice versa.

  9. #9 |  not a viking | 


    When in doubt check BMI, few(er) pot bellies in a warzone I figure. Not perfect but pretty ok heuristic it seems. Also pics obviously from Afghanistan probably not cops. Probably.

    It not just in the US that you might be confused, Swedish national SWAT on a job http://wwwc.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/0504/28/elit375.jpg

  10. #10 |  Dork | 

    Um, many cops tend to be former military. So….

  11. #11 |  Xaq Fixx | 

    @Anthony – I got that one wrong too, I was an Munitions systems guy in the AF and figured that those would be less than standard hardware for SWAT.

  12. #12 |  Highway | 

    I got 14 of 21, but most of them were just guesses, right or wrong. There’s realistically no difference, just different badges and different people, that you can see from pictures. And that point needs to be hammered home. This is waging warfare within the borders of their own country, against non-declared combatants. And as we’ve seen frequently enough on this site, it’s waging war on people who are *supposedly on the same side* as the cops.

    It’s just sad that too many people won’t wake up and see how truly horrible this is.

  13. #13 |  Fred | 

    17/21 – Age, posture and bearing, physical fitness are all good tells – and yes, there’s a difference between being pumped on roids and attitude and actually being fit, you know.
    The one that did throw me was the facial hair, which most militaries discourage, but apparently those were somebodys troops.

    But it goes to show you just can’t tell so easily – and normally I’d keep my two cents but this very week the local PD raided a house almost directly across the street from my place on (probably) some mala prohibita BS, and when they did so they did NOT at any time announce themselves as police before bashing the door in, and when a surprised female shrieked in response, slugged her hard enough that *I* heard it, in my bedroom across the street – and not in any kind of time for her to figure out whether those were neighborhood thugs, or police… which if you ask me, the difference around here in most parts of Michigan is awful thin already, especially given that I was hired in part as a guard in order to discourage aggression and harrassment BY the police upon this neighborhood.

    Bad enough you have to hire someone to do the job they can’t be bothered to do, but having that someone actively protect you AGAINST your so-called protectors is ridiculous – and we have responded via not paying for it, and levelling punitive budget cuts, which as a temporary solution was fine, but also encourages their rabid traffic ticketing and forfeiture attempts.

  14. #14 |  Jason | 

    So…. that’s where they get all of their paramilitary gear, Dork? Not sure what your point is.

  15. #15 |  Radley Balko | 


    Was that covered in the news anywhere? And would the woman be willing to talk about what happened?

  16. #16 |  Steve Florman | 

    14 of 21. Some of the insignia showed – I figured a shield or a star was a cop, even if Radley fuzzed out the department, and there are a group of Navy SEALS in the distinctive USMC/USN 8-corner cap (and the SEAL badge shows on the cap) in one shot. There is one shot of cops in what seems to be MARPAT camo that threw me, as well as a couple that were so over the top (like the guy in the machine gun turret of the HUMVEE) that my mind simply rebelled at thinking they were police.

    Any armored vehicle in a non-matte paint I assumed was police. All in all I probably should have had 3 or at most 4 more, but there are some that were beyond me. I think the only one I pegged as a cop that was actually military was they guy in the OD camo, which I didn’t think was any current US service issue.

  17. #17 |  llamas | 

    17 out of 21 correct. But as an ex-copper, perhaps I have an unfair advantage.



  18. #18 |  mjp3000 | 

    One of the ways to easily tell cops vs soldiers is in most cases the cops don’t have a camouflage cover on their kevlar. There were a few exceptions but for the most part this makes it easy. Also the non-conformity in uniforms is another giveaway.

  19. #19 |  Xenocles | 

    #9: The sheriff badge insignia is still pretty obvious in the shoulder patch.

    #14: The USMC symbol clearly shows on the guy’s cover.

    Tough quiz otherwise, but I’m sure that was the point. Well struck.

  20. #20 |  Bob | 

    Wow, that was tough. I only got 13/21. Only a few I thought were obvious, I recognized one from an actual drug raid, and in one a guy had a badge. But 14 threw me… I was sure that was a soldier.

    Yeah, it’s not just here, it’s everywhere.

    I have a batshit crazy conspiracy theory… I mean, this one is out there!

    The western world is dangerously close to a collapse of it’s currency system. The “Controlling Elite” who drive policy in government are fully aware of this, and they also know that in a ‘democracy’, they are actually powerless to stop it. Well, if you can’t stop a thing, then profit from or survive a thing. Which guy is better off when a train is going off a cliff, the guy that grabs all the loose valuables and is ready to jump, or the guy who heroically but pointlessly tries to apply the brakes to the end? My crazy theory is that the “Controlling Elite” are pushing the wars on drugs and terror full bore in order to create an army within the Police to control the civil chaos that will result from the a fore mentioned unstoppable economic collapse. All these drug raids are just training exercises in that context. When the collapse occurs, these cops will be ready to implement martial law if needed to maintain ‘stability’ while the economic system reconstructs itself. And by ‘stability’ I don’t mean a return to respect and constitutional rights!

    Do I win the tin hat award?

  21. #21 |  Curt | 

    18/21. Former military is helpful. I’m a little curious about pic 12. The M-60 and mix-and-match uniform suggest cop, but the Mk-19 and AT-4 seem pretty tough to justify (even for those who think a lot of the other crap is justifiable).

  22. #22 |  twshiloh | 

    I’ve got 20 years with the US military and have working with law enforcement agencies for ten. I got 16 out of 21. Some law enforcement I assumed were foreign military but picture 11 really stood out as an egregious example of your point.

    The indicators that many might pick up of military/law enforcement distinction (specific weapon types, lack of camouflage on the helmet or vehicle, etc) are simply too ‘inside baseball’ to expect the average citizen to tell the difference.

  23. #23 |  twshiloh | 

    yeah…should have been ‘and have been working…’

    That’ll teach me to hit submit without reading my post.

  24. #24 |  perlhaqr | 

    14/21, and a lot of those I got by recognizing “foreign” weapons.

    And then that goddamn AT4 fucked me too. :D I was sure that one must be “soldier”… right? Shit. Just the thought of Swat Captain Fife with an anti-tank missile in an urban environment… just about makes me shit my pants.

  25. #25 |  Pi Guy | 

    8/21. No military experience but much interaction with LEO (a bit of a rebel back then). Didn’t help any.

    Which, I realize, is the whole point.

  26. #26 |  Doug Walker | 

    18/21, and it ruined my day. Well done, though, Radley. Will share this one with some friends who might be less numb and resigned and more inclined to outrage.

  27. #27 |  Cappy | 

    16/21, I have 9 years in the Army and some of those even threw me.

  28. #28 |  Chris Rhodes | 


    Not sure how I can articulate my criteria, but posture and the coordination of their equipment were pretty good indicators. If they looked like dweebs, it was probably police.

  29. #29 |  Maria | 

    16/21 All my wrong ones were when I selected soldier instead of cop. 1, 11, 12, 13 and 19. Christ on a crutch.

  30. #30 |  Marty | 

    tough quiz. I suck at this, which kind of scares me.

  31. #31 |  Lori Wilson | 

    I got 13/21 – and only that high because I figured if they didn’t have helmets on they must be soldiers! I also got the ones right figuring the more weapons they had on their persons, the more likely they were to be cops.

  32. #32 |  omar | 

    The one that did throw me was the facial hair, which most militaries discourage, but apparently those were somebodys troops.

    Wikipedia says that special forces in Afghanistan are allowed beards.

    (hearsay warning) I read something ago saying that the tribal leaders have a hard time respecting a man without a beard – so this is allowed for those soldiers who have to work closely with folks in the country.

  33. #33 |  A Critic | 


    Inconsistent uniforms, vertical foregrips, and those old fashioned helmets which serve little to no purpose were easy giveaways. Also, weren’t some of the soldiers actually Marines?

    @Radley, was #7 foreign? Or if American what outfit?

  34. #34 |  Burgers Allday | 


  35. #35 |  croaker | 

    Slight threadjack, New Professionalism:

    Melbourne FL cop turns off dashcam before he beats an elderly man who was not resisting or otherwise presenting a threat. Family is suing, cop was given a warning letter for turning off the dashcam.


  36. #36 |  Tiglinda | 

    18 of 21. Even after reading some of the comments I was shocked by the weapons that were actually police. Those were the ones that got me. Keep up the good work Radley.

  37. #37 |  billb | 

    18/21. I guess I play enough MW3 to tell the difference. Also, as noted above, there were a couple that were insufficiently blinded. :)

  38. #38 |  Steve Verdon | 

    The guys with facial hair just didn’t look like cops to me, so I thought they were special operators or something for the military where facial hair is not an issue.


    Used age, physique, and also the camo outfits….

  39. #39 |  dave | 

    20/21 What do I win?


  40. #40 |  Peter Ramins | 

    At the start of the test I identified three elements that would make me choose soldier: 1. Serious military-power weapons, like M16s, grenade launcher, etc. 2. Tracked vehicles in picture. 3. Serious military-grade gear.

    Based on my rules I never once chose ‘cop’. Turns out I was wrong 12 times.

  41. #41 |  Al | 

    Eight years in the Marines got me to 18/21. Like everyone else, #12 threw me the worst.

  42. #42 |  Cop Or Soldier? - INGunOwners | 

    […] Cop Or Soldier? Radley Balko, over at the Agitator, is running a pictorial quiz. See if you can ID who's a cop and who's a soldier. It get's pretty hard in many cases. I scored an 81%. It's the eyes, man. It's all in the eyes. Take the Quiz | The Agitator […]

  43. #43 |  Howlin' Hobbit | 

    14/21. used some of the clever ways mentioned above (shiny vehicles for instance) but with several I just took a guess.

    out of my seven incorrect answers, only twice did I say cop when it was actually soldier. sad.

  44. #44 |  ZG | 

    I have no military or law enforcement background, and scored 16 out of 21. Guidelines for guessing included the uniformity of er… uniforms. The more variation in colors and patterns, the greater chance they were designed by some Chuck Norris/Delta Force fan in a local police department. Pretty sure there are some foreign military forces up there, especially in photos #7, #8, and #10.

  45. #45 |  faloi | 

    16/21 after years in the Army. In every picture except #12, I can spot the things that should’ve been a clue.

    I don’t think I would’ve gotten #12 right regardless of how long I spent looking.

  46. #46 |  Nipplemancer | 

    17/21. And like everyone else I got thrown by that one shot of the cop with a M60 and the AT-4. I figured that my own stint in the Marines would have gotten me a higher score but that was tougher than I though.
    One of the shots was from the Guerena raid if I’m not mistaken.
    Aside from the fatbodies and the expensive gear, another significant tell for the cops was the lack of a cloth camo cover on the Kevlar helmets.

  47. #47 |  Brian | 

    19/21 3 whole months in Army basic before I was tossed with pre-existing condition. Black vehicles (excluding that black “little bird from Blackhawk Down”, no camo cover on Kevlar, SO’s with beards have been allowed in Afghanistan (don’t know about Iraq), the one with the guy painting his face was kinda difficult until I noticed his shiny star. Overall, pretty damn scary. Man I need to leave this country.

  48. #48 |  Juice | 

    17 out of 21.

    Toward the end it got really hard. The clues I looked for were type of helmet and type of firearm, but sometimes even that didn’t matter.

  49. #49 |  Windypundit | 

    17/21. Got fooled by the M60 and the AT-4 like everyone else. Another tell is that cops never expect to be out very long, but the military guys are sometimes humping a lot of gear.

  50. #50 |  SoupNazzi | 

    16/21 – I like many, got thrown by the guy with the turret mounted MG and the AT4. Seriously? What department has AT4s at their disposal?

    As for the soldiers, the Marines were easy to spot, due to their unique digital camo and squared away covers. I think three of the pics were of Marines.

    Like another poster said above, I should have known that those without Camoflage on their helmets should have signified that they were LEO.

    Good quiz Radley. Keep up the good work.

  51. #51 |  Difster | 

    I got 18 out of 21. Admittedly, some of them I guessed. Some of them I’m sure I got right because of the hair cuts (soldiers) and the shiny assault vehicles (cops). Only the cops would keep an assault vehicle shiny and what looked to be waxed. Question 9 seemed obvious because there was a star on his left sleeve. That should have been blacked out.

    I got the one wrong with the little green helicopter but it just didn’t look like a military choppper; I guessed cop.

    I guessed #13 as a cop but was wrong. It was purely a guess. I had no visual clues to distinguish between them.

    And I got #15 wrong. The guy without the helmet had shaggy hair, not very military. I guessed cop and it was soldier.

  52. #52 |  Judi | 

    14 out of 21.

  53. #53 |  celticdragonchick | 

    16 out of 21. I knew most of the tells, but the guy dressed in desert BDU’s in the APC with an M60 really threw me.

  54. #54 |  Open Thread « Drug WarRant | 

    […] to include speed any time soon. Still, the idea is not as totally outlandish as it might seem. Cop or Soldier? – a fun quiz over at The Agitator that shows the challenge of telling those two apart. […]

  55. #55 |  Steamed McQueen | 

    15/21. Answers based on how well equipped they were. Anything that looked like overkill was a cop.

  56. #56 |  BrentM | 

    19/21. I have 10 years of military service and 3 trips to Iraq. Little details like ages and shininess of vehicles and equipment helped me. The police stuff tends to be more pristine than military gear

  57. #57 |  Curt | 

    On #12, I would swear that is a Mk-19 that you see behind his back. For those who aren’t familiar:


    Radley, what is the blurred out logo/patch on his shoulder?

  58. #58 |  BamBam | 

    @20, your theory is extremely likely. Only those that don’t want to acknowledge the obvious (police state, little freedom, the political system is run by those other than the politicians, etc) based on data and some critical thinking, would call it crazy. Besides, name calling means one does not want to engage in a debate, which is supposed to be an intellectual exercise.

  59. #59 |  (B)oscoH | 

    16/21. A good heuristic is that soldiers are generally in great, lean shape.

  60. #60 |  John David Galt | 

    16/21. There were a couple of giveaways. Tank-like vehicles with like-new paint jobs scream “cop” since they’ve probably never been shot at or had to bash through any hard targets. People who cover their faces with bandannas are cops, too; soldiers generally aren’t ashamed to show theirs and don’t fear reprisals when they go off duty. (& if they have tactical reasons for covering up it’ll be with paint, goggles, or armored headgear.)

  61. #61 |  Chicagojon | 

    14/21 here.

    #12 was also the jaw-dropper for me. I was suspicious but surely that couldn’t be a cop, right???

  62. #62 |  SusanK | 

    I didn’t know we’d be reporting our scores :)
    I think I got 15/21.
    I don’t know jack about guns, so I called “cop” on ones who seemed to have an excess of gear, who seemed to be hiding their faces for no good reason, and who seemed to be having too much fun with their weapons.

  63. #63 |  jb | 

    18/21. I just asked myself, do these folks look like cops:

    – Standing around waiting?

  64. #64 |  jb | 

    – Shiny equipment?
    – Vacuous looks?
    – Poser?
    – Looks like a douch?

    Yes to any one of these and its a cop.

  65. #65 |  jb | 

    Oh and…

    – 15 guys poised ready to run through one door.

  66. #66 |  Cop or Soldier? « Well Known Biases | 

    […] of our nation’s police forces, have a go at the ‘Cop or Soldier’ quiz. Found on The Agitator. Share this:FacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Law Police ← SOPA […]

  67. #67 |  Andrew S. | 

    13/21. And now I’m depressed. Not over my score, but over a few of the ones I got wrong.

  68. #68 |  AlgerHiss | 

    Balko, great job on this.

    Napolitano could do something with this on his show.

  69. #69 |  DJMoore | 

    I got 17/21.

    General soldier heuristics:
    Lots of different kinds of gear; stuff that makes you self-sufficient.
    Elaborate comms.
    No civilians. (This one’s tricky.)
    Larger weapons.

    General cop heuristics:
    Suits in group.
    Vehicles with no armaments.
    Lightweight gear.
    Buildings with no bullet dings.

    That said, there’s a definite, and dangerous blurring of the line. 0

  70. #70 |  PermaLurker | 

    19/21. Veteran. How to tell:
    1)Ttrigger fingers…only dumbasses who want to frag their buddies (cops) keep their fingers inside the trigger guard. (Not perfect..some cops actually know this).
    2) Weight…the military takes a VERY dim view of lardasses.
    3) Equipment weight per situation. No soldier I’ve ever met likes to wear/carry anything more than the absolute minimum required or ordered for the situation because chances are good you got to lug it there in the first place whereas cops are playing dress-up for a special occasion and don’t have to walk any damn where.

  71. #71 |  Garry | 

    Not much shocks me, these pictures did.
    Thanks Radley

  72. #72 |  Take the quiz | Ontoliberty | 

    […] Take the quiz here. […]

  73. #73 |  JTwig | 

    16/21. No military and no LEO experience! I used mismatched equipment, which doesn’t always help with non-U.S. military personnel, black helmets (usually means SWAT), also H&K MP5 screams law enforcement to me. The U.S. military branches usually prefer their soldier to be strong, but lean. So if I saw a pic that had a muscle-head who looks like he spends more time lifting weights than actually working, I guessed cop. Also cops (in all countries) tend to be older than most U.S., Canadian, and British soldiers.

    What the heck is up with number 12! A vehicle mounted M-60 and a rocket launcher, not even in Detroit do the cops need that much firepower! If his equipment didn’t appear to be all American made I would have guessed it was a cop in an ex-Soviet state.

  74. #74 |  Homeboy | 

    13 of 21. I am dismayed by the fact that most observers, even those applying detailed, systematic schemes of analysis, are unable to guess correctly more than ~75% of the time. I am also dismayed over the fact that the definition of “heuristic” seems to have changed dramatically in recent times, and no one bothered to tell me! ;-)

  75. #75 |  B | 

    I got 15/21. I think every one I got wrong was incorrectly identifying cops as soldiers. (Big surprise.)

    I spotted cops mostly by posture, and in one case, the unarmored helicopter.

  76. #76 |  Heartless Libertarian | 

    18/21…and yeah, the one that threw me the most was #12. That, and the one with the guys in ACUs…even the Army hates them, so I figured no self-respecting (ego-inflated) SWAT team would wear them. That, and the fact that they’re wearing the kevlar shoulder pieces. I’ve never seen anyone actually wear those outside of Army Soldier Systems Command.

    The biggest key I used was that black web gear/tac vests and helmets = cops. That was only wrong on one – the guy with the MP5SD3 (suppressed MP5). I’m going to guess he’s from some Latin American country.

  77. #77 |  c andrew | 


    I looked for shiny equipment and a tendency to cluster as cop tells.

  78. #78 |  the innominate one | 

    16/21 = 76%

    I have no military or LE experience. I didn’t use any heuristic, just gestalt and general impression. And guessing, of course.

    I missed #s 4, 7, 11, 12, 15.

    Dismaying and worrying.

  79. #79 |  Greg Beaman | 

    #7 threw me because the uniform seemed pretty generic, like it might have been the guy’s civilian clothes.
    #15 was tough because those guys had facial hair & the guy in back was wearing street clothes.
    I guess I just read this blog enough to not be fooled!

  80. #80 |  Aresen | 

    14/21. And that was with a couple of gimmes where the badges were visible.

    I got 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16 wrong.

  81. #81 |  0321 | 

    Not bad for an old Recon Marine. The M-60 and AT4 threw me off. WTF!

  82. #82 |  Chris Rhodes | 

    Are we sure #12 is a cop?

    The obscured patch is a US flag, and I’m getting some people calling BS on that one.

  83. #83 |  JimBob | 

    Permalurker beat me to it. I got 14 out of 21, but I didn’t classify any asshole with his finger on the trigger as a soldier– lo and behold, I didn’t miss any of those photos.

    Actually, that could be a fun Agitator drinking game. Any time Radley links to an article with a picture of a cop resting his/her finger on the trigger, everybody drinks.

    Who’s with me?

  84. #84 |  Chris Rhodes | 

    Are you trying to kill us, Jim??

  85. #85 |  Steve | 

    I only looked at their faces: If they were bored they were soldiers, and if they were hyped-up madmen, or completely hidden, I picked cop. 18/21.

  86. #86 |  Take the quiz… | Battlefield USA | 

    […] can take the test here: Cop or Soldier? Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in […]

  87. #87 |  LT | 

    I only got 16/21 and I have only been out for 4 years,after having served 3 tours in various zones…
    Very disturbing.

  88. #88 |  A Few Random Morning Links … | The Pretense of Knowledge | 

    […] Take the Quiz – Cop or Military? […]

  89. #89 |  Mike | 

    #12 is definitely a soldier, I’ve seen that picture before:


    Army SF in Afghanistan…the M60/AT4 combo is just a little too over the top even for a modern SWAT team.

    Still, a good quiz that highlights just how messed up things are…I got 17/21 (18/21 if you reflect #12 being mislabeled.)

  90. #90 |  Wolf Baginski | 

    16/21, which looks to be respectable for a non-soldier.

    The photo with the guy putting on camo facepaint gave me the impression the guy didn’t know how camouflage works, and I saw a worrying pattern of cops doing things which conceal their identity from potential witnesses.

  91. #91 |  Cop or soldier? | Travels with Shiloh | 

    […] Check it out. […]

  92. #92 |  PermaLurker | 

    I’m with you JimBob.

  93. #93 |  Pamela | 

    16/21. I depended a lot on the scenery to figure out which was which.

  94. #94 |  TexTerri | 

    My husband was swarmed by a fleet of 30+ cops last April when he was having a suicidal moment. Although he threatened no one except himself, he was quickly shot in the gut with an AR-15. The other 10 shots missed. He survived, and wears a colostomy bag and sports a torso-long scar, while he sits in jail awaiting trial for an assault he did not commit. Horrified, I watched from down the street as men in civilian cars kept arriving on the scene, suiting up in full gear, and running down the street for a chance to fire off a round at my husband. SWAT never made it and a Negotiator was never called. The police state is here, believe it. Serve and Protect IS DEAD
    I scored 15 of 21.

  95. #95 |  Delta Force | 

    18/21. Not bad. I’m pro police. But not if they start taking out freedoms away!

  96. #96 |  john | 

    COPS, yuk .

  97. #97 |  sjstew | 

    Recently in Weber County, Utah, we had a SWAT team enter a house. The suspect opened fire and shot 6 officers, killing one.
    The police knew that the suspect worked at Walmart on the graveyard shift. They could have arrested him there, as he walked to his car, as he drove home, as he walked from his car to his house. They chose to do the big macho flash bang entrance knowing that the suspect was probably asleep. They chose to put the suspect in a place where he had access to guns.
    While I deeply regret that officers got shot and killed, I feel that they had other choices that would have been much safer for all.

  98. #98 |  john major | 

    COPS , same as soldier anyway except soldiers are not suppose to attack us on our own soil?

  99. #99 |  Lucenut | 

    18/21 All of it scares the shit out of me. I have a recurring nightmare about going down like the ex-marine killed in a drug raid in Az last year protecting his wife and toddler from an early morning band of goons who hit the wrong house.

  100. #100 |  Sam | 

    Another way to tell them apart is that cops have more smug/untouchable expressions on their faces from knowing with full certainty that they don’t face any life-threatening action and that they are the biggest thugs on the block, unlike soldiers in the combat theater.

  101. #101 |  Jack Jeckyl | 

    90% bitches! :)

  102. #102 |  Trunk Monkey | 

    As I got 21 out of 21, I feel qualified to make this statement. A few of these questions were actually trick questions. For while your answer option was Soldier, the true answer was MARINES. Or to be precise, U.S.M.C.. Semper Fi!

  103. #103 |  Longbow | 

    18/21 for me. There were a couple I didn’t pay close enough attention to. Good game though. It is much easier to see the difference live in action.

  104. #104 |  Pammy | 

    17 out of 21. Like previous posts stated, more trim, more likely a soldier. Oh, and how many Aggies does it take to break down a door?

  105. #105 |  What's the frequency, Kenneth? | 

    Why are cops wearing camou?

  106. #106 |  What's the frequency, Kenneth? | 

    Ironic ad at the top: “Be a part of the solution” and “Get a Criminal Justice Degree” shows a cop, provides phone number for cop school.

  107. #107 |  JSL | 

    18/21, I missed 7,8, and 11. Lucky guess on 12 thanks to cynicism.

  108. #108 |  pvtpyle | 

    18/21 Helicopter and M60 tricked me. Nam Vet Marines 0311.

  109. #109 |  Bridget Magnus Shows the World as Seen from 4'11" | 

    […] or Soldier? Take the quiz. I didn’t do very […]

  110. #110 |  Vince | 

    17/21 – I had similar criteria to Chris Rhodes (reply #28). The soldiers looked like soldiers. The cops looked like they were trying to look like soldiers.

  111. #111 |  Sean L. | 

    Out of the first 111 comments (including this one), 70 people (including me, at 14/21) offered their score voluntarily. The average is about 16.3, or about 74%.

    Not sure what that says, but I found it interesting.

  112. #112 |  Jay | 

    20/21. It was mostly lucky guesses. I couldn’t tell them apart.

  113. #113 |  Stick | 

    5 years in the Australian Army and only 13 out of 21 correct? Crikey!

  114. #114 |  Over the River | 

    I too got 17 out of 21 correct. First I want to say excellent job with the quiz, thought provoking, scary, frustrating, and a whole lot of other thoughts. As with others I looked at BMI, hair, and other external features to make my choice. Also I looked to make an assessment as to the professionalism displayed; when high, I picked soldier, when it looked like some “punk” with power I chose cop. Oh, and the other thing; if I noticed an erection, I picked cop.

  115. #115 |  Fred | 

    Sorry I didn’t get back to this Mister B, I’ve been busy with work, in response to your question..

    >>Was that covered in the news anywhere? And would the woman be willing to talk about what happened?<<

    No, it didn't even make the most local papers, it's too common here given that I live directly across the street from a bad neighborhood known as West Willow.
    And I seriously doubt the lady would talk, it would be very bad for her health you might say.
    Our local Law Enforcers are not quite as bad as how far Wayne County MI has fallen since losing Chief Evans due to office politics, but they are certainly bad enough.

    It may however interest you to know there are two conflicting opinions even within the local police and sheriffs dept on how to handle the problem of West Willow – the upper management wants cameras, crackdowns, force and more force, the military siege mindset I am sure you are terribly familiar with.
    However two officers, whom you may wish to speak to, had a different concept, one remarkably similar to the one that I employ just across the street in the podunk apartment complex I work as contract security, pound the pavement and TALK to people, be human, be humane – and their approach has borne much fruit even so far, let me see if I can link the story…
    Officers Roy and Krings are worth talking to about this, but I would not trust the dept as a whole.

    Also, one of the few ways to hold a police force accountable out in the townships here is by control of the budget, initially there were budget cuts in part due to misbehavior, and when the department itself started making vague threats and acting over the top, culminating in a nasty set-to over a charity poker game, the township doubled down on the budget cut and behavior improved quite a bit.
    There's also the issue of every problem looking like a nail when you have a big hammer – well if they do not have all those shiny war toys, if they cannot afford them, there's no inclination to use them and they must fall back on traditional policing in order to get the job done.

    As for me, I am just a contract security grunt exploiting a loophole in MI Public Law 330/1968 which allows me to work directly for the owner of this property without selling my soul to a corporation, and as such I have a vested interest in protecting the property above and beyond the fact that I live here, which also makes it a "turf" issue with the local criminal element, who leave us alone because it's flat not worth it for the pathetic amount of loot.
    There's also that my presence discourages the local law enforcement from coming here and picking over the parking lot for out of date tags and similar petty harrassment, although there is some degree of mutual cooperation resulting from a tag-team incident where we mutually bagged and tagged a trio of would-be burglars red-handed and returned the stolen goods to the renter just as he came home from work.
    Ideally a cooperation between police and contract security is most cost effective, but because of the differences in priority and attitudes this cooperation is often tenous at best.


  116. #116 |  Alex | 

    I marked cop (correctly, though it’s looking now like #12 is actually a soldier) for anyone with a skinny little mike in front of their faces. Any military guys want to tell me whether I just got lucky?

    I also marked cop for anyone applying face paint with a maximally douchey expression.

  117. #117 |  Cop or Soldier? « Escapee's Blog | 

    […] http://www.theagitator.com/2012/01/16/take-the-quiz/ Cop or […]

  118. #118 |  Alex | 

    #12 is a public release photo from the 19th or 20th Special Forces Group (US Army), I know that for a fact. Police do not have AT-4’s. With that being said, I got 20-21

  119. #119 |  CD | 


    Like others have said, shiny/new equipment, general attitude and bearing, facial hair, etc were main indicators.

    I missed #7, 11, 12, & 13 (w #12 being the biggest WTF?). In retrospect, the black helmets and balaclava should have been dead giveaways.

  120. #120 |  You’re Eight Times More Likely to be Killed by a Police Officer than a Terrorist | Cato @ Liberty | 

    […] The militarization of law enforcement probably contributes to the danger. Cato’s Botched Paramilitary Police Raids map illustrates the problem of over-aggressive policing. Cato alum Radley Balko now documents these issues at the Huffington Post. Try out his “Cop or Soldier?” quiz. […]

  121. #121 |  ChrisLS | 

    19/21, though one was #12, which has now been revealed to have been a soldier, so really 20/21. #15 must have been a shot of SF guys or foreign military – the non-uniform uniforms and civilian cars really threw me off. It does make me feel better to know that cops aren’t toting AT4s…

  122. #122 |  pdxr13 | 

    chubby, zombie-stare, excess weapon systems/gear, clean, under-camo’d, shiny uniforms and vehicles = cop.

  123. #123 |  Militant Libertarian » You’re Eight Times More Likely to be Killed by a Police Officer than a Terrorist | 

    […] The militarization of law enforcement probably contributes to the danger. Cato’s Botched Paramilitary Police Raids map illustrates the problem of over-aggressive policing. Cato alum Radley Balko now documents these issues at the Huffington Post. Try out his “Cop or Soldier?” quiz. […]

  124. #124 |  You’re Eight Times More Likely to be Killed by a Police Officer than a Terrorist | _ | 

    […] The militarization of law enforcement probably contributes to the danger. Cato’s Botched Paramilitary Police Raids map illustrates the problem of over-aggressive policing. Cato alumRadley Balko now documents these issues at the Huffington Post. Try out his “Cop or Soldier?” quiz. […]

  125. #125 |  REAL NEWS Nov.01 2012 « DaniMartExtras, Too | 

    […] Try out his “Cop or Soldier?” quiz. […]

  126. #126 |  You’re Eight Times More Likely to be Killed by a Police Officer than a Terrorist | FreeWestRadio.com | 

    […] The militarization of law enforcement probably contributes to the danger. Cato’s Botched Paramilitary Police Raids map illustrates the problem of over-aggressive policing. Cato alum Radley Balko now documents these issues at the Huffington Post. Try out his “Cop or Soldier?” quiz. […]

  127. #127 |  Calion | 

    Radley! Please fix #12!