HOW TO BRING HONOR BACK TO THE POLICING PROFESSIONadmin
“OUR JOB IS TO MAKE SURE THAT NO MATTER WHAT, WE’RE GOING HOME TO OUR FAMILIES AT THE END OF THE DAY”
– Sentiment of most police officers today in America
When officers make this statement, they in effect devoid the profession of the honor it once represented. Officers are held to the official and unofficial standard and expectation that they will endeavor to ensure that every citizen within their purview will return home to their families at the end of the day… Even if it requires him/her making the ultimate sacrifice of laying down their life in this noble effort to do so.
That is not to suggest that any officer should approach this job with reckless abandon, or wanton disregard for their instinctive self-preservation. Nor am I suggesting that any officer should throw all caution to the wind and frivolously throw their lives away all willy-nilly, withoutmaking every humanly possible effort resolve a life-threatening situation with the desired outcome of the survival of all parties involved.
What I am in fact proposing is a challenge to all law enforcement agents – regardless of levels of government and agency profiles – to reassess this fairly new, yet pervasive concept. I challenge us to in fact rewire our thinking regarding exactly what it is that we are willing to commit and sacrifice to ensure that we are living up to the time-honored tradition and tenant of “serving and protecting”. I challenge us to restore the HONOR to the profession by purging this despicable and selfish slogan which as of late, appears to be a staple in the psyche, words and actions of law enforcement agents nationwide.
If we are no longer willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, what separates us from the job description of every other hard working, dedicated profession in the country? I submit that the only difference between police officers and the executive or assembly line worker at any auto plant; any grocery store; any post office; any educational institution; any professional sports team, public office or fortune 500 company, is our willingness to lay down our lives for that of a total stranger. That he or she might make it home to their family at the end of the day/night.
If we are no longer willing to make that ultimate sacrifice, then we are no longer that honorable institution that I couldn’t wait to swear oath to 6 months prior to graduating high school in 1976 – when I went into the US Army Military Police Corps, via the Army’s Delayed Entry Program (DEP).
God-forbid it ever comes to that for any of my brothers or sisters behind the Badge, and God bless the souls of the ones who have already made this noblest of contributions. But the Honor in our sacred profession comes from our innate willingness to do just that…
It is my contention that this mentality is a primary factor, and is a direct contributor to the resulting “shoot first, and ask questions later” phenomenon. It has also given rise to the pervasive yet unspoken (in public) law enforcement mantra of ” I’d rather be tried by 12, than carried by 6″. Worse of all, it has created a safe space for those who have sworn the oath for sub rosa unscrupulous, immoral and sometimes criminal agendas.