Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal


Abolition, Copaganda, police PR, schools, youth programming


Told in schools across the US for decades, Officer Friendly is a story about policing. Through the literal reading of books like Miss Frances’ 1953 Your Friend the Policeman, visits from McGruff the Crime Dog, and even the ever-expanding TikTok world of dancing SROs, the story remains the same: police keep us safe from the bad guys. In this paper, we draw on data from school and police social media accounts in a community in Alabama to expose the bad faith underpinnings of this story, and how it functions through ‘friendly’ police-youth programming in schools. This story relies on at least three narrative devices to move the plot forward: humanising the violent equipment/tools that police use to harass, maim, and wage death; legitimising the authority of the police through mentorship and education; and naturalising surveillance and suspicion by deputising a naughty pair of Elves on a Shelf. We conclude by proposing that the ultimate function of what we’ve detailed here – the rationale behind deploying these three narrative devices – is to construct a story through which, by the end, we’ve all been recruited into the ‘pig majority’.

Funding Source

This article was published Open Access thanks to a transformative agreement between Milner Library and Sage Journals.




First published in Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal (2024).

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (

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