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How Doughnut-Loving Cops Became a Stereotype

How the sugary snack became a staple for the stereotypical cop’s diet?

In pop culture, police officers and doughnuts go together like peanut butter and jelly, from The Simpsons’ Chief Wiggum to the Twin Peaks sheriff’s department.

Few, if any, occupations are as closely connected with a certain cuisine as officers with doughnuts, prompting the question of how the sweet snack came to be a mainstay of the stereotypical cop’s diet.

As Cara Giamo of Atlas Obscura points out, cops in the United States became connected with doughnuts in the 1950s, when they were one of the only refreshments accessible to officers on the late-night beat.

Because they needed to prepare for the morning rush, doughnut shops were among of the only stores up late at night. As a result, they were among the finest choices for cops looking for a quick bite to eat, a location to fill out paperwork or make a phone call, or simply a place to sit and relax.

According to Giamo, the link between doughnut and police officer wasn’t a joke at the time; in fact, for some establishments, it was a source of pride.

According to Giamo, in some situations, police departments had to intervene and remind officers that accepting complimentary doughnuts could convey the idea of favouritism toward a person or business, jeopardising their duties as impartial law enforcement officials.

Nonetheless, the doughnut had become synonymous with policeman in popular culture, as had cops walking or driving their evening beats.

Read Giamo’s post for more on the history of the long association between police officer and doughnut.