Have you stopped a driver for failing to obey a traffic sign to simply hear in defense, “But officer, I’ve lived here for 10 years and never noticed it, I swear!”?
The statement could be deceptive or legitimate. Yet before piling on the ignorant motorist, keep in mind that we (police) can be just as dumbfounded regarding symbols placed around our organizations.
A few years ago my department painted some inspirational sayings across concrete beams in the parking garage. What great timing as there are more hecklers in the crowd than ever before. When officers leave the structure each day, they will find words of wisdom. But I wonder how long will it take before something new and noticeable becomes cloaked and concealed? Will the signs remain inspirational or become incognito?
Many years back we had the department mission statement displayed in several locations, but no one could quote it unless it was memorized for a promotional interview. The same is true for artwork designed to inspire and motivate.
Why stencil, “Courage is ACTING in the face of FEAR,” or any other quote in the primary hallway of your police department?
Actually, the answer is simple. These remarks contain wisdom and understanding not possessed by the ignorant and misinformed. They explain why we do, what we do, and how we go about doing it—pure motivation if you allow it to fuel your internal engine!
“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
Play Like a Champion Today
There is a reason why college football teams slap an inspirational sign while exiting the locker room to take the field. It’s a reminder of who they are, what they represent, and how they intend to perform.
So I challenge peace officers everywhere to read the signs and slap the symbols if you have them! Next time you see, “PURSUING JUSTICE with PRIDE, PASSION, and PERSERVERANCE,” you’ll be reminded why you’re in the game. It should inspire and motivate you to fulfill your oath of office regardless of the opposition.
(Feature image courtesy Fountain Valley Police Officers Association Facebook)