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Let Me Never Forget Why I Do What I Do and That I Do It in A Free Society Only by Permission Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
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Let Me Never Forget Why I Do What I Do and That I Do It in A Free Society Only by Permission.

That is a concept that I was taught back in the 70’s, very early on in my Law Enforcement career.

I must admit though, I am getting just a little bit tired of hearing all the rhetoric and one-sided press coverage, and support they are providing for the “non-systemic” issue of police brutality and ignoring of civil rights.  And that they are taking advantage of the current situation to avoid the facts and simply fan the flames of crisis in order to draw enough attention to win awards and increase profits. Even if those awards and profits destroy our current Democratic Republic and God fearing (?) way of life.

I will also admit that I am often tempted to do just what the emotional advantage seekers are doing and ride the tsunami like waves of opinioned personal reinforcement. However, if I plan to keep my God given moral compass boxed (and I must), that cannot be allowed. I must, as I have been taught over the last nearly five decades of service to my fellow man, continue to balance the “Scales of Justice” equally for ALL men (and women), as directed by our current Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Oh how I wish the Founding Fathers had labeled it a “Bill of Responsibilities”.

I have always advocated that America’s greatest attribute is freedom. But, a wise man also realizes that anything good can be hijacked for the purpose of evil as well (thus making it a liability as well). People have fought and died defending freedom; and I am not just speaking of those that serve or have served in the military. I am also speaking of my fellow citizens who are peacefully and responsibly standing up for individual rights, as laid out in the United States Constitution.

For those of us policing a free society, it is vital that we never lose sight of, and stay committed to, democratic principles. While we defend our community, state and nation’s people from crime, disorder and oppression. We in law enforcement must at the same time uphold that which is dearest to us, the United States Constitution and it’s homage to freedom.

If we are to maintain favorable public support and reasonable expectations towards police, we must never lose sight of why we police and that in this country it is by permission and not autocratic mandates. We must never lose sight that our allegiance is to our country, communities and citizens first, and then our departments and brother and sister police officers. It’s not the other way around. It never has been! Nor should it be!

We cannot and must not ever lose sight of this. This is what makes policing in America so beautiful and at the same time so ugly. The balancing act between creating harmony and sowing discord while policing is so fragile and yet so powerful it is what draws many police officers to our vocation with the desire to protect and serve. It is quite an awesome responsibility that each police officer is endowed with upon his or her commissioning.

The police officer on the street has the power to grant or take away freedom. He can do this not just because he is a police officer. He can do this because in America, a free society, the police officer is tasked by and follows the constitution’s democratic values, which include common and statute laws and his discretion. All of which allow him to make decisions for the good of the populace.  And he does this only with the permission of that society.

If we follow these patriotic values to the best of our ability we should be able to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of our communities. If they think otherwise, we lose their trust, and what happens when people feel that a relationship is unjust, when they feel like they can’t turn to the police? Feelings of hatred, resentment, revengefulness develop. Community mistrust equals higher levels of crimes, disorder, violent crime and lower cooperation with police.

That sounds a lot like Chapter 3 of Second Timothy to me.

Some police officials, many elected government officials and many emotional and demanding members of the public really do not understand the responsibilities and duties the police shoulder in providing equal law enforcement services, in assuring due process, in protecting the rights of minorities, in balancing individual privacy and the right of political descent. All while they attempt to protect the public’s property rights and their personal safety.

I guess that should not surprise me though, they feel you can usually gain wisdom on any topic they have a limited interest in without ever trying to learn or experience anything remotely connected to that subject. I guess they all learned how to SCUBA dive sitting in the sand.

Most bothersome is the fact that talk about supporting democratic values in the context of police operations has come to be equated, by many police officials and by some elements of the public, with a desire (or more likely a DEMAND!!!) for a softer and permissive attitude towards criminals and toward unruly elements in our society Including rioters and criminals who resist our best efforts at “de-escalation” (I hear they want to call de-escalation a new concept – I can’t figure that one out, I was taught it more than 50 years ago in my first police academy).

This situation is exacerbated when the loudest critics of the police, who vociferously defend constitutional rights, fail to acknowledge the complexity of the police task and seem totally unaware of the problems the police must handle on the streets, often under extremely difficult circumstances. There is nothing new to this process though is there?

If folks would like police to listen and understand their desires for change, then they might just want to try and speak instead of yell and chant random slogans, most of which are strictly meant to agitate and enflame emotions beyond reason.

“No Justice, No Peace” is a far cry from “Know Justice, Know Peace”; but do they truly want justice?

Justice: noun. The quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause. ... The maintenance or administration of what is just by law, as by judicial or other proceedings: a court of justice.

Isn’t that just what each of us swore to God we would do when we put on our shields of faith?

And took as our oath...Romans 13:4

I honestly believe that 98% of the officers I have worked with and encountered over the course of my career feel the way I do, so let’s stop remaining silent and Stand in the Gap with them against all odds, for they are all that stands between “The Monsters and the Meek.”





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