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The Metro Cops, or Civil Protection, police inner-city areas and keep citizens in line through use of intimidation and physical force, from random beatings and 'inspections' to outright murder. In the first few chapters of the game, they are armed with pistols and stun batons. Later, however, they occasionally carry SMGs. Some cops are also outfitted with deployable manhacks which they will release at opportune moments. Civil Protection officers also have the ability to launch flares for calling reinforcements.
The tactics that these 'police officers' employ are basically strafing to avoid enemy fire or hiding behind cover when they are wounded. When a Metro Cop dies, its radio emits a prolonged tone (reminiscent of the sound of a "flat-lining" EKG or a loudspeaker squealing with "feedback"). Any surviving officers will usually start chattering on their radios.
The presence of Civil Protection forces can usually be detected by telltale radio chatter in quiet areas. The CP soldiers do not appear to be "evolved" or "enhanced" humans, although their fully-enclosing masks and helmets make this hard to determine. Given the knowledge that Barney was able to infiltrate the Combine by gaining a CP position and several City 17 citizens talk about joining Civil Protections for better meals, it is likely that they are simply humans who have pledged allegiance to the Combine in return for better treatment and prospects. However, Overwatch loudspeaker announcements refer to 'memory replacement' as a method of increasing rank privileges; perhaps higher-ranking Civil Protection officers are further from the base human than their inferiors.
CPs are generally kept separate from the more military branches of the Combine, staying in a policing role within the cities. They travel in APCs and dropships, and are often accompanied by swarms of scanners.