Jul 312016 2 Responses

Why Would Anyone Wear a Badge?

When I was growing up, every little boy had at least one badge. The star pointed replica would clip onto your shirt pocket and when joined by two toy pistols would transform a little boy into the official law enforcement officer of his backyard. Nearly every imaginary scene was a battle between the good guys and the bad guys. Where I grew up, everyone wanted to be the good guys.

As children play make-believe, parents encourage them to wear a badge and pretend to fight for law and justice. But as those children become adults, there is a great hesitation from encouraging those same children from pursuing a career in law enforcement.

While training, policies, and an overall decline in violent crime has made the last decade one of the safest time periods in the history of policing, there may have never been a tougher time to be in law enforcement:

  • Pay is dismal.
  • Pensions are declining.
  • Expectations have skyrocketed.
  • Respect is at an all-time low.

Never has so much been demanded of law enforcement by citizens and communities even as we give so little to the men and women called to keep us safe. (See: A True Picture of Justice and Grace)

Every week there is another report of an officer being assassinated.

While some make fair claims about police brutality, a multitude of false reports are made on a regular basis.

Because of a mixture of high stress and poor habits, officers have a decrease in personal health and an increase in divorce and marital dissatisfaction.

It is a difficult time to be in law enforcement.

Why Would Anyone Wear a Badge Anymore?

With all the negatives associated to being in law enforcement, why would anyone choose that field?

Obviously some choose it for the wrong reasons. Some have a desire rule over others and to be in authority. They pursue law enforcement to stroke their own ego.

Yet, most who pursue law enforcement do it with pure motives. They desire to serve and protect. Good parents should still encourage their sons and daughters to wear badges. They should do so not just as little boys and girls playing in the backyard, but as High School juniors and seniors are choosing future career paths. (See: How to Break Up a Drug Deal in the Church Parking Lot)

Some choose law enforcement:  

Because they still believe in justice. While human justice is imperfect and flawed, it is still an ideal goal to purse. Right and wrong does exist. As a society, we have a responsibility to pursue the righting of wrongs and to protect from the repetition of evil. Some who believe in justice will do their part in bringing justice by pursuing law enforcement.

Because they still believe in service. Many believe life is simply about them, but a good number of people pursue a higher calling. To serve others is a better pursuit than simply serving self. In few areas can a person serve such a broad spectrum of people like those who choose law enforcement. During moments of our greatest need, we call law enforcement officers. Some who desire to serve others will do so by choosing to wear a badge.

Because they still believe in making their communities better. A community can only thrive when crime is kept in check. When lawlessness rules, societies decline. Communities must have leaders who are willing to encourage law-abiding citizens and hold law-breakers accountable. Some will choose law enforcement simply because they desire to make their hometown better.

Because they still believe in bringing glory to God. Some choose this career based on self, but others see it as a vocation–for them, it’s a calling from God. In response to who God is and who God made them to be, they attempt to bring glory to God by mimicking his desire for justice, care for others, and giving of self to make the world a better place. They feel as though God has called them into the field and no negative can trump that call. Some will choose law enforcement because they will feel law enforcement was chosen for them.

From a strictly selfish perspective, now is not the time to go into law enforcement. Those currently serving should consider ways to get out and those who are designing their careers should consider other fields. But when we look beyond ourselves and consider the needs of our communities, friends, and families, we must encourage some to dedicate their lives to become police officers, detectives, federal agents, and every other field of service.

As we encourage others to pursue those fields, communities and the country must prioritize law enforcement so that they have the resources needed to accomplish the task they have been given.

 

2 Responses to Why Would Anyone Wear a Badge?
  1. […] In honor of the men and women who risk their lives on our behalf, I want my hometown to create The R... kevinathompson.com/the-rogers-avenue-salute
  2. Paula Strachan Reply

    Thank you for writing this. My father, dead for nearly forty years, was a good Christian man and a police lieutenant. My cousin was chief probation officer for this district of Arkansas, after being a police chief. These are stressful times for anyone with any connection to law enforcement. The hatred and disrespect everywhere are hard to take. It’s nice to see something positive, and hear from someone who realizes not ALL that’s in the news and on social media is true. I wish none of it were, but then so do the honorable officers.

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