Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Person Behind the Badge

They submitted an application.  They took the written test.  They were questioned in front of a board of interviewers.  They allowed investigators to dig deep into their past and go as far as talking to their neighbors.  They took a polygraph, did a physical agility test and even talked to a department psychologist.  All of this they did to have the chance at being employed as a police officer.

The number of candidates is usually staggering.  To be selected is an accomplishment all of its own.  If they are selected they will raise their right hand and swear:

"On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust.

I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions.

I will always uphold the constitution, my community, and the agency I serve."

From that moment until they day they decide to leave law enforcement they will be known as a police officer.  When they are introduced at gatherings they may even be introduced as “So and So - he or she’s a police officer.”  For most people, if their employment comes up, it doesn’t usually come up like it is part of their name, but for a police officer, it’s different.  The job becomes their identity.  They almost in a sense become the badge, but don’t forget; the person wearing that uniform is a father, mother, sister or brother.  While they have sworn to do all the things in that oath of honor, at the end of each shift, they trade out that uniform for regular clothes.  Because behind that badge, is a person, not all that different from you.