How Should Police Act?




1. Policing is a necessary function; a noble and learned calling.

2. Only those who represent society’s highest values should serve as police.

3. Policing is more than enforcing the law; it is serving people, being present, solving problems, and helping others.

4. The nature of policing requires those who practice it be highly respectful, compassionate, and collaborative in carrying out their duties.

5. The use of legitimate force is a public trust given to police to be used wisely and carefully.

6. Those who practice policing must be impeccably honest.

7. Police must have respect and tolerance for dissent and public protest.

8. Ultimately, police are guardians of our way of life, to be accountable and transparent in their actions, and protectors of our Bill of Rights and persons most vulnerable in society.


  1. No argument from me in regard to any of the eight. Back in my own days as a chief, I thought it important to stress the protecting the rights and dignity of the people with whom we dealt, including suspects and arrestees, was AT LEAST as fundamental to our duties as protecting someone’s wallet. Too often, the tendency of law enforcement agencies…including the brass…is to regard Constitutional rights as restrictions or obstacles, when, as you point out, be entrusted to protect them should be regarded as an honor and privilege.

    I found that, if you hire good people (e.g., hire people that the testing agencies label as too intelligent for police work), treat them with respect, provide them with the training they need to do the job the way it should be done, and are demanding, but in a fair and positive way, great people will jump ship and join your department, even when they have to absorb pay cuts to do so. Sometimes, just not being expected to cover for brutish, lazy, and/or unethical colleagues is incentive enough.

    Keep up the ggod work!


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