Integrity Matters
July 6, 2005

Police officers strengthen, protect society

Question: (E-194)

Dear Jim:

Where are police officers when you need one? Don't you think they spend too much of their time writing speeding tickets instead of arresting real criminals?


Police work may be the most stressful job in the world. A police officer said: "Every day when I leave home for headquarters, I kiss my wife goodbye, aware that it may be for the last time."

Law enforcement personnel risk their lives, even during "routine" traffic stops. Officers writing tickets have been assaulted, shot, led on high-speed chases and hit by passing traffic. They never know when "routine" may turn violent.

Since 1994, 1,649 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty. Immediately following 9/11, there was a surge of support and respect for those who serve as police, fire and emergency personnel. Such appreciation is still needed, maybe now more than ever.

Excerpts from the "Law Enforcement Code of Ethics" pinpoint integrity-centered promises:

"My fundamental duty is to serve mankind; safeguard lives and property; protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and respect Constitutional rights...regarding liberty, equality and justice.

"With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.

"I recognize the badge of my office as the symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the police service."

Police officers support and strengthen society's integrity while protecting the rights of individuals. Misbehavior, whether in terms of violating traffic laws, selling illegal drugs or robbing stores, requires law enforcement energies. So if more officers are required to maintain civilized behavior, then citizens must find ways to pay for them. Raising taxes is one common approach. However, if increased taxes are not attractive, then more members of society must exercise greater self-restraint.

It should be common knowledge that individuals must operate with integrity, in a culture of compliance, or face increasing government oversight, including disciplines and fines handed out by law enforcement professionals.

In the meantime, pass along words of praise directly to law enforcement professionals and through the media. Write letters. Make calls. Send e-mails. Encourage integrity-centered law enforcement by praising admirable behaviors.

Home Page | About Us | Ask Bracher | Services | Resources | Contact Us

©Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership. All Rights Reserved.
1400 Munras Avenue ~ Monterey, California 93940