Can officers of the law lie to you? For instance, do they have to tell you they're a cop if they approach you at a bar in Dallas, Texas?

I'm not sure where the old adage that police officers can't lie started, but it did. And it's something that's been conflated with truth thanks to popular television shows and movies.

But is it true? 

The old trope certainly makes for great television, but is that all it is? And while we want to believe that law enforcement will be truthful, just as they expect us to be with them, it turns out that police officers are allowed to lie.

Back to television, so many shows depict undercover officers who if they did have to reveal who they were would not be able to do their job, it's the same in real life, they do not have to reveal their occupation, and can lie about their ability to obtain a search warrant.

Even though some specific municipalities require police officers to disclose their identities in public, to date, there is no federal statute that demands law enforcement officers identify themselves to the general public when asked. - LawfareBlog

And if you were wondering, outright deception is a common interrogation tactic in Texas and almost every state. Officers sometimes rely on "fibs" to encourage a suspect to confess.

Rosenberg Perry shares a few examples of typical lies during suspect questioning including:

  • Warning suspects that they have recovered their DNA at the crime scene.
  • Giving them water to obtain their DNA from the drinking glass.
  • Cautioning that they have eyewitnesses or are recording the interrogation.
  • Ironically, accusing them of failing polygraph tests.

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