Officer, your sergeant has something she wants to share with you…
[Ed Note: The following is a recent post by a senior police sergeant that pretty much sums up the dilemma we are experiencing today. It’s all about the “attitude” you bring to work — are you a positive or negative influence among your fellow officers and citizens you contact, or are you something else?]
“Live your oath, change the world!
“As professionals, law enforcement officers swear an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. We also have a code of conduct called the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics. More and more, I find myself wondering if we even care about those anymore.
“Policing is one of those professions that transcends the definition of a job. It’s who we are. There is the increasing lament that cops are held to a higher standard. Some complain if a grocery store manager got into some kind of trouble, nobody would care, but police officers are called out and shamed. That’s true. And you know what? Rightly so.
“Because here’s the hard truth: Nobody made you become a cop. You took on the status and the responsibility that came along with that status, willingly. Maybe you didn’t fully grasp the awesome responsibility that goes along with the awesome power society vested in you the day you pinned on the badge, but you own it.
“On good days, we all love basking in the respect and admiration given to us simply because we’re walking around in a uniform or driving around in that police car. There’s a kind of intoxicating sense of power when drivers hit their brakes at the sight of you in traffic, or everyday people go out of their way to say hello or offer you a free coffee out of respect for the profession you’ve chosen.
“Notice I said because of the uniform and car, not you personally. It’s really easy to blur that line. People confer automatic respect (or disdain) for what your uniform represents. Most people have a good impression, but some have had bad prior experiences. Either way, they are basing their reaction on historical interactions with another nameless individual wearing a uniform like you. Personally, they probably don’t know you, so it’s important to remind ourselves that we’re representing an idea, the idea of public service, impartial enforcement of the law, integrity, and even bravery.
“This is why you are held to a higher standard. Because the profession you signed onto is the ultimate measure of public trust. You are entrusted to uphold and enforce the laws of our democracy. You are given the authority to take someone’s liberty or life. I’d say that’s way beyond the scope of the retail manager. That is why law enforcement is a calling, not a job. The job requirements include humility (service is humility), grace (not everyone deserves jail or a ticket), compassion (seeing the humanity in others)…”
For the rest of her thoughts, click HERE.
About “Thoughful Sarge:
“Policing is an honorable calling and I was blessed to be a part the law enforcement family for twenty-five years. Cops aren’t perfect, but to uphold the values of our profession we should always strive to be worthy of the badge. Today our ideals and principles are more important than ever. We’ll talk about issues relating to policing and the communities we serve. This is a no hate zone, but we may ruffle some feathers. I challenge all of us, cops and citizens, to listen to one another. Our individual experiences and truths may be difficult to understand, but we have to try.”