In an enlightening episode of Today I Found Out, host Simon Whistler gives the most practical and likely reasons that the idea of cops eating doughnuts became such a pervasive cultural stereotype. In the mid 20th century, late night and 24-hour dining options were limited, so police officers working nights typically had few choices of places to get something to eat and a cup of coffee, with doughnut shops being one of the best options.
Members of law enforcement stuffing their faces full of doughnuts is one of the most enduring stereotypes about the boys and girls in blue. In virtually every media representation of the police that isn’t deadly serious, the stereotype is played out in some way- Police Academy, The Simpsons, Family Guy, hell, in Wreck-it Ralph the police officers are literally sentient doughnuts. So where and when did this stereotype start?