He gazes steadily into the camera, hands working something offscreen. Ever so slowly he raises his arms, revealing the object he’s handling: a ring light. He twirls it beguilingly, then in an instant transforms into a different state of dress. In some versions, he begins scantily clad and ends fully clothed and strapped—in others, the opposite.
But he is invariably imminently fuckable. He’s also a cop. A cop of TikTok.
The cops of TikTok are a force to be reckoned with. There are funny cops, scary cops, and self-deprecating cops. But the most popular genre is the hot cop.
The most popular TikTok on #copsofTikTok shows a trio of officers walking by as Saweetie’s “My Type” plays. The camera zeroes in on one in particular, panning over his fit physique as he strolls and drinks iced coffee, apparently oblivious to the lens’ caress.
The nine-second TikTok has been watched 80 million times since it was posted last June, placing it in the territory of the Super Bowl in terms of viewers.
While that one features a person filming cops, it’s become clear that cops know they are now objects of attraction. They want you to want them.
And the officers are only too happy to oblige. Hot cops are all over TikTok. Multiple, unabashed thirst traps hashtagged #hotcopsofTikTok have millions of views.
Nearly all the hot cops of TikTok are men, likely because police forces are roughly 90% male nationwide. Some TikToks are posted by the officer’s significant other or a civilian who just so happens to stumble upon a hot cop in the wild (although many of these appear scripted). People who post the latter often joke about hoping to get handcuffed or even arrested like the 5 million Americans who cycle through county jails every year.
Therein lies the tension in the hot cop genre. In an effort to, as many of the TikToks plainly state, “humanize the badge,” these thirst traps gloss over the fact that police are empowered to take away the most fundamental rights to life and freedom in a wide variety of circumstances they have broad discretion to interpret. The very presence of a cop invokes a sense of danger, armed and trained as they are to restrain, batter, and kill.
Perhaps that’s part of the appeal of the hot cops of TikTok. They could fuck you—or they could fuck you up.
Judging by the comments and stitches, people are happy to imagine either scenario.
“Sir you have the right to arrest me,” reads a comment on an officer’s #ringlightchallenge transformation from strapped and packing to shirtless and backlit with a rain effect.
The TikTok has 5 million views.
The ring light challenge wardrobe change thirst trap subgenre of hot TikTok cops is so popular it’s been used for marketing purposes and inspired parodies, such as one where an officer pretends to do the challenge with a miniature donut then just eats it.
Much like in real life, cops love their props. Donuts are a favorite feature of hot cop TikToks. Their audience eats it up, too, with comments like, “Ummmm, are we NOT gonna discuss dem cakes?!”
As much as the cops of TikTok like posting thirst traps and making classic jokes about themselves, they also love cutting up on TikTok about taking people to jail and hitting people with tasers. And when they aren’t posting themselves, people are posting TikToks of them beating people. But these aren’t nearly as popular as the hot cop TikToks, however.
But even the thirst traps have a thinly veiled threat behind those rippling muscles, tasers, and batons. Should they choose, the officers might use them on you, like the thousands of people who get cuffed, beaten, and shot by cops every year.
The hot cops of TikTok and their thirsty audience would rather you think about how they might use their figurative, rather than literal, guns on you.
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