NYPD Blue Glossary


Skel: 1. Short-hand for "skeleton"; i.e., what most drug-users wind up looking like. A derogatory term used to describe low-life junkies. Also refers to homeless vagrants. 2. From the book "The City in Slang, New York Life and Popular S peech," by Irving Lewis Allen (1993): The New York police today call the most vagrant of the male homeless skels. William Safire informs us that "it is a shortening of skellum meaning a rascal or thief, akin to a skelder, 'to beg on the streets,' first us ed in print by Ben Johnson in 1599, just after the playwright got out of jail for killing a man in a duel; it is possible he picked up the word from cellmate's argot." The word popped up about 1935 in the short form skell, suggesting that skellum/skell ha d underground oral use for centuries. Skell is now in popular speech to denote the homeless that are so visible throughout the city.
PAA: Principal Administrative Assistant; also Police Administrative Assistant
IAB: Internal Affairs Bureau, the branch of the police that investigates other cops
DOA: Traditionally means "dead on arrival"; here it's used to refer to just about any dead person, murdered or otherwise
BCI: Bureau of Criminal Information; the place where fingerprints are checked against criminal records.
Hump: 1. Your ass; "He's gotta bust my hump over this petty crap?"; 2. A moron; "That stupid hump scratched my car!"
Juice: Influence; i.e., veteran cops like Sipowicz and Simone have lots of juice at other precincts when their friends get in trouble
Reaching Out: Can mean anything from just contacting someone to trying to convince them to help the cops to seeing if they need help
Lawyering Up: A suspect's decision to stop answering questions and ask for legal counsel.
The House: Shorthand term for the stationhouse
Up/Catching: Baseball metaphors used to describe the system by which cases are assigned; e.g., Simone caught that murder in Chinatown because he was up
Riding DA: The Assistant District Attorney assigned to a particular precinct; Sylvia is usually the Riding DA at the 15, but her pregnancy has caused her to cut back on her work, and ADA Cohen has filled in on occasion.
Boss: Term for senior officers, from lieutenant (in certain units) to captain, deputy inspector, inspector and commissioner.
Bus: ambulance
CCRB: Civilian Complaint Review Board
Central: Central Dispatch
CSU: Crime Scene Unit
Dee Wee: Phonetic for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated).
DT: Street slang for a Detective.
EDP: Emotionally Disturbed Person, the politically-correct way to what was once referred as a "psycho".
EMS: Emergency Medical Services, which technicians, often overworked, underpaid and unappreciated sometimes dub "Every Minute Sucks".
ESU: Emergency Services Unit; the NYPD SWAT team.
FAT: NYPD's Fugitive Apprehension Team.
Five-O: Street slang for police (obviously influenced by a now-defunct TV cop show).
Flying; to fly: Leaving the confines of one's usual precinct in order to fill in for a shortage of manpower in another precinct or location.
Go down, to: Getting arrested.
Good people: All-purpose NYPD compliment meaning 'kosher', nice, reliable, etc., irrespective of race, religion or sexual orientation.
Gun run: Search for a weapon reported sighted in the hands of a "perp".
Hit: Tactical assault on a criminal location.
Job: Service in the NYPD, as in "I've been on the job five years."
Lou, Loo, Lieu: Affectionate slang for 'lieutenant'
MOS: Member of the Service (police officer); used on the radio.
Mope: Unauthorized term for "perp".
Mutt: Unauthorized term for "perp".
OC: Organized Crime
One PP: One Police Plaza, NYPD Headquarters in downtown Manhattan.
Open carrier: Police officer or vehicle with an open radio. -
Package: Escorted prisoner or VIP.
Paying the rent: For police officers, the handing out of a certain number of traffic summonses and moving violations.
Perp: Perpetrator, criminal
Puzzle Palace: Police Officer's term for One Police Plaza.
Rabbi: An individual's guide and guardian angel in the department.
Rat squad: Officers and detectives assigned to Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB).
Red Menace: Unofficial term for members of the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), also known as "Rubbermen", a term of affection and respect for those members.
Rip: Loss in pay due to a disciplinary infraction, such as unauthorized moonlighting.
RMP: Radio Mobile Patrol, the NYPD blue and white 'sector' car
Sector: Subdivision within a precinct, which covers several blocks. A sector car is assigned to patrol the area (see RMP above).
SNAG: Special Narcotics and Guns Unit.
SNEU: Special Narcotics Enforcement Unit.
SOD: Special Operations Division.
Squad: Short for 'detective squad', attached to the specific precinct.
TARU: Technical and Research Unit
Tunnel Rats: NYPD Transit Bureau (the subway cops).
White Shirts: Term for lieutenants and above, who wear white uniform shirts.