You once took the Oath Of Honor. You proudly stood there and said, “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.” Do you remember how proud you were standing there saying those words knowing how hard you worked to get there? Ever since you were younger you had it in you to be the greatest you could be. You worked hard and strove to accomplish your goals to get the chance to say those words with pride. You stood tall that day you took that oath. Your friends and family cheering you on as you accepted your new life as a law enforcement officer. You celebrated the beginning of your dream come true to fight for good and help abolish the evil. Day in and day out you worked long hard hours sometimes not even getting to eat. You proudly put that uniform on. Working with your partners has been like a family of its own that has given you a sense of belonging. Day in and day out you came across all sorts of situations. Some good some bad and some you wish you could forget. Being a cop is hard work and you were proud to work hard at it.
There were days where you came home feeling like no one in the world appreciated you. There were days you came home feeling on top of the world. You diligently went to work. You worked hard for a long time. Most people will never understand the type of day you have had unless they were in uniform right there next to you fighting side by side. As time passed you proved your worth to others and those you have taken an oath to serve. Days were long as the years passed by. You had two families one at home and the other at work. You have been through so much and seen much more. The average individual could never fathom what you have seen and done in your lifetime.
You put your uniform on one more time but today is not going to be a day like any other. Today is going to be a day where you are put to a true test. A situation arises and you are asked to do something you would never think of doing. You are asked to break the law you made an oath to defend. What do you do? Do you break the law and cover your brethrens back hoping no one finds out about it doing your fellow officer a solid? You have a choice to make. What will it be? Uphold the law you enforced for many years or break it to help out your fellow officer in a time they did wrong. What choice you decide will never be an easy one. What is the right choice? Be labeled a traitor to your fellow officer or be labeled a traitor to the badge?
A family member or a close friend asks you to look the other way while they commit crimes. What do you do? Do you turn the other way and act like you do not know what is happening? Do you allow them to continue their acts of crime because they are family or friends? Do you allow people to get away with breaking the law because they support their local law enforcement or even work with them as contractors? Where do you draw the line? When does the view of breaking the law and doing what you took an oath to do become blurry? When did your friendship or business relationship become above the law?
Does that oath not mean anything to you? If it does then will it mean enough when faced with challenges like going against someone you care about or have a business relationship with? Too many times officers have chosen the darkened path and broke their oath. Now it is your turn to decide which path you want to take. To restore justice to the oath would mean sometimes you stand alone and ostracized by the very people you once called family or friend. How much does that oath you took really mean to you? You made decisions through your life where you saw clearly those who broke the law and did your best to obtain dignity and pride in the words you uttered a long time ago. You cuffed many people, worked countless hours on cases, some never solved most brought to justice. You knew for the longest time what you needed to do to uphold the law and you did it without a doubt in your mind.
Now you are faced with a new situation at hand. Politics may be involved. A personal friend or family member may ask you to turn the other way. Someone who has worked for the department through private contracting has broken laws and expects you to back them up although you both know the law has been broken. Here you are face to face with the one decision you never thought you would have to make. No, not this person. Why? Why not someone else? What do you do? Are you conflicted? Stop for a moment. Gather yourself and think with your eyes closed. Look at the situation not the people involved. Does the situation abide by the law or go against it?
There have been officers in the past that have chosen the darkened path. I have to ask those officers, what happened to you? What happened to that once proud officer who took the oath? Where did it all go wrong? Did you forget your oath? Did you forget why you became a law enforcement officer? The general public is split on how they feel about law enforcement officers with news stories coming out of involuntary manslaughter to cover ups. Why did you chose to do what you did? Why did that oath not mean anything to you in the heat of a moment? You have a moral obligation to uphold the law. Why did that moral obligation elude you?
Now it is your turn, you are faced with a situation yourself. What path will you choose? Before you make your next move remember to close your eyes. Look at the situation at hand not the people involved. Was the law broken? Now remember the oath you took and what it meant to you when you said, “On My Honor….”.