“CRAZY 101” – What does it mean?

woman in straight jacket

For anyone curious about the title of the book series, ‘Crazy 101’ is derived from the police radio code, ‘918 101’. ‘918’ is code for ‘mentally ill person’. ‘101’ is an overtly sexist code for ‘woman in car’ and is used by male officers to advise the radio operator they have a female in custody. My training officer back in 1979, Officer Harold Copeland, explained it was the department’s way of protecting male officers from false allegations of rape made by female detainees. Back then I asked Copeland “What if the officer is a woman?” Copeland laughed it off. “Women don’t rape men; besides there are so few women on the force, it’s a moot point.” “But men do rape women,” I countered. “Why isn’t there an equivalent code to protect the female officers? Isn’t the department concerned with their female officers getting raped by male detainees?” Copeland had no answer.

Before long, I came to realize that the code ‘101’ was far more generalized in its meaning and ubiquitous in its usage within the department: ‘101’ is cop-speak for any person of the female gender, on or off duty. Likewise, the phrase ‘918 101’ or ‘crazy 101’ (crazy woman) was commonly used by the male officers on the force to refer, not only female detainees, but to ALL females, including their coworkers, girlfriends, and spouses.

There’s also another meaning to the title, ‘Crazy 101’, one which derives from my undergraduate years at Arizona State University: ‘101’ is typically the course number assigned to introductory classes on any given subject. Hence, my five years with the Phoenix PD were, for me and so many other civilian female employees, an introduction to the never-ending insanity entrenched in the dark and seamy underbelly of American law enforcement–a beginner’s course on ‘Bat-shit Crazy.’ #Crazy101

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A Hostage Situation

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