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Civil Protection

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CP c17i4.svg
HL2 HLA Metrocops.png
Civil Protection
General information

Combine Overwatch[1]


Law enforcement

Individual information
  • Vocoder
  • Radio
Game information



Half-Life 2

Half-Life: Alyx

  • Max Aristov (appearance)[5]
Voiced by
"I don't know about you, but I'm ready to join Civil Protection just to get a decent meal."

Civil Protection,[8] also referred to as the Metro Police,[1][9] is the Combine's oppressive human police force in all Combine-controlled urban areas on Earth, including City 17. Its officers are named "Metro Cops",[1][2][3][10] while the spelling "Metrocops"[11] is also used. "CPs"[8] is mostly used by Citizens and Resistance members to refer to Metro Cops. The entity uses "Metropolice" (the original term),[12][13] and the subtitles use "MetroPolice". The Overwatch Voice simply uses the term "Officer" or "Protection Unit" in the singular and "Protection Team" in the plural.[8] It is implied to be related to an organization referred to as the Combine Civil Authority,[14] while the Ministry of Civil Protection is also mentioned.[10]

Part of the Combine Overwatch,[1] Metro Cops are ordinary human volunteers who have willingly joined the Combine,[15] either for more privileges, such as additional and higher-quality food, better living conditions, an increase in authority and status over others, or out of genuine sympathy and identification with the Combine's aims. As such, they have not been subject to biomechanical modification in any way, unlike the transhuman forces. Barney Calhoun is notable for having infiltrated the Combine by joining the Civil Protection ranks as an undercover Resistance member.


A Metro Cop on watch during a sweep while another passes through a forcefield.

Metro Cops wear white masks hiding their faces, with built-in vocoders to disguise their voices; these each contain a radio and air filters that appear like a cross between an old Soviet PMG and a PBF gas mask. They also wear a combat vest, leather boots with a black-green uniform, an armband on the right arm, with "c̄17:i4" emblazoned on the armband written in a squeezed Impact font and "C17" in the back of the collar. For City 17's uprising, the Resistance has retrieved a high amount of Civil Protection combat vests for the Rebels, who wear them above their Citizen attire.

Metro Cops are typically armed with 9mm Pistols and Stun Batons - they are known to beat unarmed Citizens at the slightest provocation; Barney Calhoun mentions being "behind on [his] beating quota". In more critical circumstances, they will be issued with Submachine Guns (which they fire from their hip), use Emplacement Guns, and are provided with fire support from APCs and Hunter-Choppers. Some Metro Cops are also armed with a deployable Manhack and/or Flare Gun to call for help.

Metro Cops are almost always encountered in protection teams (a term used by the Overwatch Voice) and will employ very basic tactics, such as covering one another and running to cover when injured or reloading. Metro Cops normally attack aggressively and will pursue to evade suspects. The Overwatch Voice also suggests that each squad has a particular leader referred to as a "rank leader". These protection teams are generally kept separate from militarized units, such as Combine Soldiers or Synths, and stay in a policing role within the cities. They travel in APCs and Dropships and are often accompanied by City Scanners or Manhacks. Metro Cops are also seen stationed on Combine Watchtowers from which they can fire flares to alert the other nearby units.

Civil Protection heavily relies on communication with the Overwatch Voice over their radios. They are thus constantly fed mission objectives, rewards, and reminders, and are directed to respond to certain incidents (such as the locations of downed units or other criminal infractions). Metro Cops do not communicate with each other like they once did as citizens, using instead complex procedure words. When a unit speaks to another unit, the unit being spoken to will say generally say acknowledge with "copy" or "10-4". Like many of the forces of the Overwatch, Metro Cops are given a unit name and accompanying number from one to nine. These designation names are defender, hero, jury, king, line, patrol, quick, roller, stick, tap, union, victor, x-ray, yellow, and vice.[16] The constant radio chatter usually gives away unit positions before they are visible. When a Metro Cop is killed, its radio emits a prolonged tone similar to that of a flatlining ECG, followed by the Overwatch Voice declaring the unit down, along with their unit name, number, and last known location for nearby units to respond.

Certain transmissions heard over the Civil Protection radios indicate that Metro Cops are operating under a system of rewards and punishments based on their mission performance. The Overwatch Voice emphasizes that the acquisition of "100 sterilized credits" qualifies Metro Cops to undergo a process referred to as "non-mechanical reproduction simulation". Conversely, failure to accomplish a mission leads to severe penalties, such as "permanent off-world service assignment", "immediate amputation" or a deduction of either "50% rank points" or "50% reproduction credits." Furthermore, the Overwatch Voice hints at a unique incentive, where "family cohesion" is preserved as a reward for following orders diligently, implying that failure to comply might result in the Metro Cop being separated from their family. Additionally, there are indications that Metro Cops receive extra privileges upon undergoing memory replacement, as the Overwatch Voice reminds them that "Memory replacement is the first step toward rank privileges."[17] This directly pertains to the promotion from Metrocop to Combine Soldier or Combine Elite by willfully surrendering more and more human features and characteristics.[18][19] Another transmission suggests that Metro Cops are provided with rations with at least 3 mg of anti-fatigue properties.


Half-Life 2[edit]

Metro Cops conducting a raid on an apartment building.

Civil Protection is first encountered in Half-Life 2 immediately after Gordon Freeman departs from a train inside the City 17 Trainstation. From the very beginning of the game, their brutality can be witnessed involving shoving a citizen into a stack of suitcases for trying to locate his luggage as well as making various arrests on other citizens. During the opening chapter, they are seen patrolling the city's plaza and streets, however, when Overwatch detects a miscount, Civil Protection launches a raid on an apartment to apprehend Gordon. Shortly after that, Alyx Vance rescues Gordon from a group of Metro Cops who attempt to ambush him in an abandoned warehouse. Once Gordon departs from Kleiner's Lab, he is pursued aggressively by Metro Cops through the train station and surrounding canals leading to Black Mesa East.

During the Uprising, Civil Protection battles with Gordon and the Resistance throughout the streets of City 17.

Half-Life 2: Episode One[edit]

Civil Protection appears briefly in Half-Life 2: Episode One towards the end of the game, ambushing Gordon Freeman, Alyx Vance and Barney Calhoun as they attempt to lead groups of citizens to a train to evacuate them from the looming destruction of the Citadel and City 17. Barney mentions that the remaining Metro Cops are having second thoughts about still defending the city in light of its impending doom.

Half-Life: Alyx[edit]

Metro Cops jogging down a street during an irregular sweep.

Civil Protection in Half-Life: Alyx serve a minor role compared to Half-Life 2. They are never directly fought by the player throughout the game. Still, they are witnessed in the first chapter, Entanglement, either patrolling the streets or herding Citizens into prisoner transport trucks. After a shipment of Combine mini-reactors is intercepted by Eli Vance and Russell, Overwatch dispatches Civil Protection to conduct what Olga refers to as "not a routine sweep" of the surrounding area.

Shortly thereafter, Alyx Vance is briefly detained by a squad of transhuman soldiers and awakens inside a prisoner transport truck with two Metro Cops. Alyx promptly questions where they are taking her while demanding to know the whereabouts of her father. After they instruct her to stop moving around in the back of the truck, Russell's drone smashes into the front windshield and drops a live grenade which falls under the front passenger seat. The two Metro Cops panic and scuffle to fruitlessly remove the grenade moments before it explodes, causing the vehicle to violently crash into the corner of a building and flip over on its side. The collision kills both Metro Cops, but Alyx survives and is broken free by the drone which leads her on foot to Russell's Lab nearby.

Although Civil Protection is not encountered afterwards, a related organization known as the Ministry of Civil Protection is referenced on various Combine billboards scattered throughout the Quarantine Zone.


Metro Cop using an Emplacement Gun at Station 1.

Metro Cops are not as organized and effective as the two other Overwatch units, and generally use weaker, more basic weapons, and are not very accurate. They almost always work in groups, so when in a firefight with a squad or two, it is advised to hide as much as possible and shoot while they are reloading. As almost all of the combat they encounter is against unarmed and untrained Citizens, they will appear inexperienced in firefights against tougher, more competent opponents. Metro Cops also do not carry out melee attacks unless they are armed with a Stun Baton.

In the early Half-Life 2 levels, a few pistol shots will kill a Metro Cop. In close quarters, a couple of hits with the crowbar will kill them. If they drop a Stun Baton in combat, it can be used as a battery for the HEV Suit. Later in the game, the best weapon to use against them is the Submachine Gun which can easily dispatch large numbers of them at once.

In the Canals levels, many explosive barrels are scattered on, under, or near wooden structures where a Metro Cop tend to stand. Shooting the barrels for more effective (and spectacular) results is advised. Metro Cops will also occasionally use the barrels as improvised grenades, rolling them to Gordon after igniting them. It is advised to shoot them while they are still rolling. Metro Cops also often tend to throw themselves in the path of the Airboat or stand on breakable wooden structures, in a similar way to the Combine Soldiers with the Buggy in the Coast levels. This should be used as well for more effective results.

Related Achievements[edit]

Half-Life 2
Hl2 put canintrash.png Submissive (5G)
Put the can in the trash.
Hl2 hit cancop withcan.png Defiant (5G)
Hit the trashcan cop with the can.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Promotional art of the Metro Cop.
  • The Metro Cop was originally referred to as the Combine Guard (not to be confused with the Synth unit of the same name), which evolved into both the Metro Cop and the Combine Soldier. Much like the Combine Soldier in the final version, Civil Protection originally also had its elite variant, the Elite Metro Cop. Metro Cops were originally to have other colors on their uniforms, such as red or yellow, and the right armband colored red. One version also depicts them with bright blue eyes.[20]
  • Originally, the Civil Protection was to be named "Metropolice", a name that survived in the Civil Protection entity, npc_metropolice. Many Metropolice posters were to be seen around City 17, but were removed when the team thought that the Combine did not need to rely on subtle messages to achieve their ends.[12] Three posters, designed by Randy Lundeen, are known: one involves the Consul, an early Citadel, Combine Guards, and the slogan "It's great to be part of the greater good".[21] Two other posters, including again Combine Guards, bear the ironic slogan "They're here for you".[12][13] Some of these posters are featured in WC map pack maps, when propaganda was still an important storyline tool for the team.
  • A Civil Protection headquarters building was originally to be seen near the Manhack Arcade, with above it the sign "C17 MP", or "City 17 Metropolice", in the WC map pack map c17_04 and its variants.[22] In Raising the Bar, it is nicknamed "Cop Station", and was to be seen after and not before Kleiner's Lab.[23] Metro Cops were also to stand in Door / Guard Towers, hanging cabins used either to operate gates or guard an area. Moreover, they were to use early Combine Watchtowers near Sensor Gates, another cut Combine device.
  • According to Valve's animator Doug Wood, the Metro Cop went through several sets of animations during its development. None of them felt right until the team decided to give the CP a more bullying personality. Then Wood put a slight swagger into the CP walk and changed the chest posture to a more leading position.[3]
  • In the Half-Life 2 leak files can be found several early Metro Cop sounds, with the prefixes "mc1ans" and "mc1que". They mostly consist of a chat between at least two different idle cops (as there are two different voices). Sometimes a bit hard to make out, these sounds include things like "You're in helluva a mood", "Watch yer mouth", "You expect me to believe that?", "Yep, this was definitely the best career choice I ever made", "I'm feeling pretty good about myself, ok?", "I wouldn't have kids even if they let me", "Supposedly we're getting a raise next week", "Your wife doesn't like me, does she?", among others.[13] Setting Metro Cops on fire caused them to start screaming, while they do not in the final game.
  • The Half-Life 2 soundtrack track "CP Violation", played during the chapter Route Kanal, refers to the Civil Protection and Gordon running against each other to Black Mesa East. One of the most fast-paced tracks of the soundtrack, it also has a shorter remixed version. CP Violation is also a concept in theoretical physics.
  • When asked about the devices on the belts of Metro Cops, Dhabih Eng stated that they were comms.[24]


Half-Life 2[edit]



Half-Life: Alyx[edit]




List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



  1. The internal metadata of unfiltered Civil Protection lines found in the Half-Life 2 leak reveal Bateman's name who goes uncredited in the released product. In the final game, the only surviving lines from Bateman's performance are the Civil Protection pain and death cries as well as the "Take him down!" line used when Gordon is ambushed in the tenement block.
  2. Only in the prisoner transport crash scene.


Civil Protection
Combine OverWiki has a list of quotes for Civil Protection.
Civil Protection
Combine OverWiki has more images related to Civil Protection.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Half-Life 2 Prima Guide
  2. 2.0 2.1 Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 110
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 114
  4. Li icon.png Tom Leonard on LinkedIn
  5. Max Aristov on ArtStation
  6. Marc Laidlaw on the voices performed by Kelly Bailey (June 4, 2022)
  7. Twitter favicon.png Michael Schwalbe's tweet on Twitter (March 23, 2020)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Half-Life 2
  9. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar (uncorrected proof), page 283
  10. 10.0 10.1 Half-Life: Alyx
  11. Half-Life 2: Episode One
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 181
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Half-Life 2 leak
  14. Gate 5 station
  15. Marc Laidlaw Vault on the ValveTime Forums
  16. Half-Life 2 game files, "V_MYNAMEP" in sentences.txt
  17. Overwatch Voice: "Reminder: Memory replacement is the first step toward rank privileges." Half-Life 2 (Overwatch Voice Quotes)
  18. Dr. Isaac Kleiner: "Some of our neighbors have allowed themselves to be co-opted, and purged of their humanity, by the military machine." Half-Life 2: Episode One (Breencast Quotes)
  19. Twitter favicon.png Tweet: "These are Overwatch Soldier conversion mechanisms. The idea is that once proven as a Metro Cop the individual in question gets promoted to a Combine soldier which involves memory replacement, among other mods. All things that make them less and less human the higher the rank." @dhabiheng (Dhabih Eng) on Twitter (January 30, 2022)
  20. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 70
  21. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 201
  22. WC map pack
  23. Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar, page 240
  24. Twitter favicon.png Tweet: "it's comms! and Resistance stole em to use themselves" @DhabihEng (Dhabih Eng) on Twitter (Jan 19, 2023)