Why Are Police Officers Called Five Oh's?


9 Answers

Neil Grayson Profile
Neil Grayson answered
5-0 is US slang for police which is mainly used as a warning that the police are approaching. The origin of the slang term derives from the US TV program, Hawaii Five-0. Hawaii Five-0 was a popular program aired from 1968 to 1980 which followed the ups and downs of a fictional state police unit.

The program was called Hawaii Five-0 because Hawaii is the 50th state. Due to the popularity of the program, the name for police officers continued long after the show finished airing. During the show it was actually the whole division called the five-0 but over recent years, the slang has evolved and can now refer to just one officer. Some people even call them the ‘5 dot’ which refers to the Mustang 5.0 (5 liters) they used to drive.

There are hundreds of slang names for the police that vary from country to country and state to state. Like ‘5-0’, the slang name can come from any background. In the UK, Jam Sandwich, used to be used which refers to the car they drive in the UK which had a red stripe through the middle, similar to a jam sandwich.

‘Pigs’ is a popular one in both the US and the UK. There are many explanations as to why they are colloquially called pigs but it could come from George Orwell’s Animal Farm which uses animals as an allegory to explain much more serious issues that face society, during the story, the pigs are said to act similarly to corrupt police officers. Police may also be called ‘The Fuzz’, ‘The Busies’ or perhaps even ‘PC Plod’ which refers to the policeman in the Enid Blyton stories ‘Noddy’.
Margaret Kohut Profile
Margaret Kohut answered
Calling police officers "5-O" comes from a TV show of about 25 years ago called "Hawaii 5-0." This show was set in Hawaii, and the unit the show was about was 5-0." From that time until today (and probably forever!) law enforcement officers and correctional officers are referred to by criminals as "5-0." On the streets and in prison, when people who are up to no good see a police officer or corrections officer coming their way, they softly say "5-0" to alert others that the law is coming their way. This is not an offensive or disrespectul phrase; sometimes law enforcement officers and correctional officers use it themselves.
Cheryle Masters Profile
Cheryle Masters answered
My husband seems to think that it is because of the show years ago called Hawaii
Mike Anderson Profile
Mike Anderson answered

Reason,the number to call them about this.

Jacquelyn Mathis Profile
A television show called Hawaii 5-0. Simply put, Hawaii is the 50th state. In Hawaii, that was the street name for them. Hope this better helps your question.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Actually the Guy isn't really wrong!(kinda) They always Drove Crown Victoria's, Back around the 80s the original Crown Vic`s had the same 5.0 Motor as the mustangs, And displayed a tiny Badge saying 5.0, in today's modern world the Crown Vic`s are 4.6 L Mustang GT motors, so you could Essentially call them the 4-6 now. Both the Car example and the TV Show are correct. And this comes from my uncle who just retired from the force of about 40 years.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Actually the term 50 came from when the police dept started buying the mustang 5.0 back in the late 80's and early 90's. That is when it all started. If someone seen the cops coming they would yell five o
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Comes from old tv show called Hawaii 50. Another phrase that came from this show was "book 'em danno".

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