I Have a Dream About Police — Do You?
Over a half century ago in the midst of racial unrest in most of our nation’s cities, I wrote an op-ed in the major newspaper of the city in which I served as a police officer. In it, I shared my dream. It is a dream I still hold and wish for today.
At the time, I had eight years on the job and was a full-time college student. Needless to say, I received a tremendous amount of “push-back” at the time from my superior officers.
My refuge (protection) was that I was the local president of a national law enforcement fraternity, Lambda Alpha Epsilon (now the American Criminal Justice Association). We thought ourselves as instruments of social change – a professional union and we were going to speak out during these tumultuous times.
Here was and is my dream as first contained in that op-ed so long ago:
As a police officer, I am a direct representative of our nation and its fundamental values embed in our nation’s Constitution.
- My fundamental duty is to serve humankind.
- I understand the historical and present struggle between police and people of color, youth, and those most vulnerable in our society. I am committed to first improving my behavior in order to build trust in and among these communities. This means I must be respectful to all persons at all time and be controlled in my use of force.
- I will stand up for those who have little voice in my community.
- As an educated police officer, I am committed to improving all that I do, remain open to new learning and incorporating the best known methods of policing into my work. Continuing education is the key to my professional competence.
- Serving our democracy, I pledge equal, fair enforcement of the law regardless of a person’s race, color, creed, social standing, or sexual orientation.
- I will not tolerate illegal or unethical behavior among my colleagues.
- I pledge to deliver high quality, compassionate police services to my community and to everyone with whom I have contact.
What’s your dream for police?