“I........................DO SWEAR, THAT - I WILL PROTECT AND SERVE - OUR SOVEREIGN COUNTRY AND STATE - AS A POLICE OFFICER WITHOUT FAVOR OR AFFECTION - MALICE OR ILL-WILL - UNTIL I AM LEGALLY DISCHARGED, THAT I WILL SEE AND CAUSE OUR COMMUNITY’S PEACE TO BE KEPT AND
PRESERVED - AND - I WILL PREVENT TO THE BEST OF MY POWER - ALL OFFENSES AGAINST THAT PEACE - AND - WHILE I CONTINUE TO BE A POLICE OFFICER - I WILL - TO THE BEST OF MY SKILL AND KNOWLEDGE - DISCHARGE ALL THE DUTIES THEREOF - FAITHFULLY - ACCORDING TO LAW.
SO HELP ME GOD.”
To protect and serve the people within the jurisdiction that an officer serves, to uphold and enforce the laws of their state and the United States of America, that is a part of the oath that most officers pledged to when they took their job, their place, their duty, and their calling in life. Maybe they dreamed about being a police officer since they were a little boy or girl. Maybe they have followed a long line of a call from grandfathers, fathers, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, etc. Maybe they have always had a tugging on their heart; they know that is what they are supposed to do as their life’s work. Maybe they are called to power, or they love the law. Maybe they like to help people, or maybe they were bullied in school and now they have a chance to get even. Maybe they still believe in honor, courage, and standing for all that is right. Maybe it’s a great cover to hide the monster that lives within?
Whatever the reason a person applies to become a police officer, they do! It isn’t easy to become a police officer. The written exam weeds out quite a few hopefuls to start with, a candidate has to score with a high mark if they want to have any chance of getting the job. Then they have the physical testing, the psychology evaluation, and then if you’re doing well the oral exam. Local politics figures in and there is pressure to fill a certain percentage of positions with minority applicants. The oral exam allows for a great deal of latitude as to who gets hired. You would think it would simply be if they have ten openings, they would hire the ten best candidates. Most of the time, that’s not what happens, not at all!
I remember when I was a little boy; I looked at policemen with respect! Policemen were right up there with superheroes! Batman, Superman, Policeman! They were someone you could trust, a role model for boys, they represented the law, justice, and they were respected and feared! You would never think of talking back to a policeman, no way! When a policeman showed up everything was instantly alright and you were safe. They were honored, looked up to, and revered! What happened?
Is it really the policeman’s fault? Is it the media? Is it prejudice? Has the World gone crazy, out of control? Is it because of fear? If a police officer shoots and kills a person they should be held accountable! If it is found to be a criminal act because of prejudice or pure evil then they must severely punish them. If it is an honest mistake in the line of duty they must still take serious action because an officer took a life because of their mistake. If the media is found to make a story worse than it is, throw gas on the fire, so to speak, they should be shut down. How often do the media make matters worse by the way they cover a story?
Imagine being a police officer and making a traffic stop. You pull over a vehicle lights and siren. In the other car are four minority men in their late twenties. They don’t speak English. It is well past midnight. You are alone in the squad car without back up. The men are very verbal and aggressive. Would you be afraid? Do you think you could accidently shoot one of them because of fear? Suddenly, a man in the back seat reaches under the seat and quickly comes up with a shiny object and points it at you! What do you do? Do don’t understand what he is saying? Do you shoot? It turns out that the man had a bag with a toy policeman for his five year old son that he was trying to show you. You thought it could be a gun, you might have shot him? Fear is very powerful? Your peers will judge you over time, where you had a split second to react to the situation. Do you think that’s easy?
Are there some brutal, abusive, and bad officers? You bet there are! Remember police officers are men and women first, just like you and me. They all suffer from the human condition just like everyone else does. We can’t stereotype all officers as being the same because they’re not. They come from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, world views, attitudes, beliefs, educations, etc. There are plenty of good, outstanding, caring, excellent officers who are willing to risk their lives to protect and serve the public. I believe that most human beings in their heart of hearts want to do well. I don’t believe that the problem is that officers intentionally look to abuse the public. I believe the problem is something much deeper.
In the past twenty years our World has changed drastically in a bad, mad way! There is so much fear and pain in the World. Police officers constantly see the bad side of human beings. Officers are often put in dangerous situations where they have to make a split-second decision that could decide whether they live or die. The officers are under tremendous stress! They are on a cardiac roller-coaster ride! One minute they’re drinking a coffee, the next they’re racing to an accident with injuries. Then they’re having lunch, and then racing to a domestic dispute. Can you imagine what that must do to the nervous system? They see horrible things: dead bodies, rapes, burn victims, assault victims, etc. They must be loaded with feelings of hurt, pain, and fear. That’s why many officer commit suicide, suffer from addiction, and the divorce rate is very high.
Any basic anger management course will teach you that anger comes from hurt, pain, and fear! It would make sense that some officers are going to have anger problems. If they have angry emotions and don’t know how to deal with them constructively, they are going to have destructive behaviors to deal with their anger. That’s where the abusive behaviors come from. That should be dealt with swiftly by their supervisors. Then it’s a matter of correction, training, and progressive discipline.
When a man or woman becomes a police officer, over time their friends start to drift away. In many cases after a few years the only friends left in the officer’s inner circle are other officers. It’s just a phenomenon that just naturally occurs. In some cases officers lose touch with regular people and only see things through an officer’s World view. There is a real brotherhood between officers. They watch eachother’s backs.
Most officers are good honest hard working men and women. We need them to make society to function properly. There’s no room for discrimination or hatred. There is no room for media hype. I’m certainly not discounting any lives taken unjustly by law enforcement recently. We can all judge for ourselves. Just remember that we can take all day to review a video, where an officer had to make a split-second decision. There have been too many fatal shootings by police officers in the past ten years. Something does need to change!
You can see by the way officers talk to citizens on reality police cable television shows that something is very wrong. The officers talk to people like they have no rights, and like they are less then. I have seen people’s rights get violated on several occasions on cable television. I have also seen brutality.
It’s hard to change hardened hearts, certainly a tall order. Can we bring our Heroes back? We’re going to need them in this broken and twisted World we live in! Can each officer take a look in the mirror and see if they’re happy with the person they have become? Are you the officer that you dreamed of becoming when you were a little boy or girl? If not, are you willing to change? We need you! If the badge weighs too much, maybe it is time to let someone else carry it.
I believe at this point, there is only one way that this problem gets solved in a healthy way. I’m praying for God to help resolve the situation in a healthy manner. I hope that everyone in the nation will join in prayer for our country, our police officers, our people, and our World, as we all need God’s help.
Remember that police officers are only human. They have saved many more lives than they have taken. They sometimes must go where others fear to go. They engage in life and death struggles with suspects. They often risk their lives for complete strangers.
Officers remember your oath. God bless you all and keep you safe, that you may return to your families each night without incident or injury. Thank you for your service. --RevKev