Is It True That Cops Like to Eat Donuts in Their Cars?

Like a doctor to a stethoscope and lumberjack to his ax, cops and donuts have gone hand-in-hand as a famous pairing for decades. And while it’s easy to poke fun at the police force for it, we had to wonder where the stereotype came from and if it is indeed true that cops like to eat the delicious round treats in their cars while on duty.

Cops and donuts

The notion of cops loving donuts is so widely known that it’s seeped its way into popular culture for decades thus making the stereotype even more ubiquitous and somewhat derogatory. But as with anything else that’s not understood, the truth of the matter sheds a lot of practical light as to why the police force has been so closely associated with the round, doughy sweet treats.

cop eating donut
PORTLAND, ME – JUNE 22: Portland police officer Blake Cunningham takes a bite of a donut as he crosses the finish line of the half marathon at the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon & 5K race. Cunningham ran the race for the third year while raising about a thousand dollars for the Recon & Sniper Foundation which helps veterans transition back to civilian life. (Staff photo by Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

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According to Atlas Obscura, the police and donut partnership started around the 1950s, when the police force switched from walking police beats to driving them. Unlike a lot of our civilian 9-5 jobs, officers on the force need to work around the clock, which meant a lot of late nights having to do paperwork when not on a call. And what’s open late at night, other than a diner? That’s right, a well-lit donut shop that’s open 24 hours and provides ample seating and enough sweet round treats to fill your belly when having to work the graveyard shift.

Donuts are cheap and convenient

Additionally, donuts are cheap to buy, delicious to eat and provide a quick jolt of sugar-filled energy for when you’re on the go. Imagine sitting down to a nice meal at a diner, only for the dispatcher to call you to put you on the job right when you got your plate of warm food, it would be a shame to have to discard.

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So in cases like those, donuts provide an easy snack that you can eat quickly and not feel bad about it if you have to throw it away. So it makes a lot of sense that they became the snack of choice for the police force across the nation. In fact, some departments even called them “power rings.”

“A symbol for power, laziness, and corruption”

Now that we know where the cop and donut stereotype came from, it’s easy to see how it’s been blown out of proportion for years. The metaphor has been so widely used that the donut has been a symbol of power, laziness, and corruption when relating it to the police force. So much so that protestors at various riots have even dangled donuts on makeshift fishing poles to taunt the police force.

protester dangling donut in front of cop
TORONTO, ON – AUGUST 13 – A protester dangles a chocolate donut in the faces of calm officers guarding police HQ at A protest for the killing of Sammy Yatim ,starting at Dundas Square and ending up at police H.Q. on College st where toronto Police Services meet at 1.30 pm The family were taken into the building as people demonstrated outside closing down College St . (Colin McConnell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

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But in reality, the police just needed something to keep them awake and active during late-night shifts, like a bodybuilder and his protein bar. And to get things straight, as noted in the video above, a lot of cops are well aware that donuts aren’t the healthiest things to eat, especially late at night, so some of them do pack their own healthier snacks like carrots and sunflower seeds.

Do cops like to eat donuts in their cars?

cop car parked outside a krispy kreme
Nighttime view of a Fairfax County police vehicle parked outside a Krispy Kreme donut shop (on Route 1), Alexandria, Virginia, September 13, 1998. An unidentified officer exits the shop. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

Theoretically, yes, since they are constantly on the go. Although, we’re sure they would much rather have a nice place to sit and do their work when possible. Either way, while this stereotype will probably be around forever, most of the police force seems to have a good nature about it, because really, who doesn’t crave a nice Krispy Kreme donut from time to time?