I wish the question, “why do you wear the badge?” was asked of me more, so that, maybe, just maybe, people could understand law enforcement a little better. I understand it is not my responsibility to make everyone appreciate the police, comply with the police, or see eye-to-eye with the police. Not only would this be near impossible to do, it is not part of our job. However, when we are presented with a situation in which we can educate the public on the police, we should take it.
There are many reasons I wear the badge. To some, the badge represents power, authority, the ability to take someone’s freedom. While the badge does represent authority, and gives us the power to take some liberties, when appropriate, there is so much more behind the badge than just these things.
The badge, to me, is more a representation of what we stand for as police officers. The badge is a constant reminder that I belong to a family unlike any family on this earth. The badge represents the fact that I have lived my life, up to this point, with respect of the public and adherence to the laws of our land. The badge also represents that I am not without mistakes and flaws, for it was a long, tough, mistake-laden road to achieve my badge. Just as the metal-cast badge isn’t without imperfections, nor am I. The badge allows me to realize that, just as I have made mistakes in the past, the public makes mistakes too. The badge allows me to realize that there are people who look up to it and some who look down upon it.
We are without names to many, we are strangers to many more. However, the badge allows us to be a beacon of peace, positivity and freedom from wrong-doings. The badge is a symbol of safety, for that is what we are, keepers of safety and keepers of peace. The badge represents strength. Not just physical strength, but moral strength, intestinal fortitude, mental strength, strength that we can deliver to others when they find themselves weak.
The badge is a symbol of determination, long hours, sleepless nights, all so that we may find the end goal: Justice. In this, the badge stands for justice. The badge will lead us forward, never retreating and never backward, towards a threat, towards an end goal, towards peace, justice, integrity of the public and the safety of our streets.
The badge stands for truth, honesty and respect. We ask the public to put their trust in the same.
The badge stands for family, family that cannot be broken, as the badge itself can never be broken, cast of heavy metals and inlaid with gold and silver.
The badge stands for diversity, as no badge is the same. We honor diversity, individuality, and freedom of mind, speech and protest.
The badge stands for you, the public at large. The badge is a literal and figurative shield you can stand behind or be in front of. It is ultimately your choice. To those who stand behind our badge, behind our shield, we will do everything in our power to make sure our shield against evil is effective and will keep you safe. For those of you that choose to stand in front of the shield, we offer you this:
At no point will our shield be broken. At no point will we lay down our shield at your request. At no point will we pull the shield out from in front of the people we protect, only to protect ourselves. You may make us fall, but ultimately, more warriors, with the same strong shields, will take our place, and will continue the fight. Soon enough you will find that your false shield of crime and wrong-doing, is no match for the shield we carry as police officers. You will find yourself in a losing battle against the strongest shields in existence. You will find no supplies to make your shield greater than ours, for our shields have been forged with the blood and sacrifice of true warriors gone before. Our shields, our badges, are forged with fortitude, bravery, integrity, honor, respect and selfless service. Your shield is without these essential materials. You may hunt for them, you may even find some of them, but they will prove to be unreliable, for without all of these things put together as one, your shield is weak, and will not protect you from the shield of justice. You have an opportunity to lay down your shield and fall behind ours, for your road to guaranteed safety and a life of integrity can only be found behind the badge of a police officer.
This, my friends, is why I wear the badge. If for no other reason, it is for you.