Sgt. Jeremiah P. Johnson of the Darien Connecticut Police Department responded to a discussion about the policing industry having its own Hippocratic Oath.
Given the extent of misconduct now revealed in North America, this is worthy of wider attention.
The following is from A Hippocratic Oath for policing published by the National Police Foundation:
Below is what a law enforcement code of conduct modeled after medicine’s modern Hippocratic Oath might look like. Hippocrates once wrote, “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” May the same also be said of our noble profession.
I solemnly swear that I will fulfill my duty according to the tenets of this oath:
I will honor the tradition and sacrifice of those officers who have preceded me, and will seek to pass on my knowledge and experience to those who follow my path.
I will faithfully serve and protect my community while recognizing that policing is strong medicine and must be delivered at the right dosage. I will apply my craft accordingly, avoiding the dual temptation to over-police or de-police neighborhoods and communities that need my help the most.
I will remember that policing is both an art and a science. I will seek to carry out my craft skillfully, judiciously, and with empathy. I will embrace what is known about policing and seek to advance the evidence base to answer that which is unknown.
I will remember that policing, especially its coercive elements, is not a panacea for social ills. I will not be ashamed to de-escalate, wait for backup, or request the assistance of professionals outside of my field that are better equipped to address the root of the problem.
I will respect the humanity of those whom I encounter, both victim and suspect alike. I will treat life as sacrosanct and will only use deadly physical force as a last resort. If I must employ deadly force, I will strive to preserve life once it has been applied.
I will remember that I do not police an act or behavior, but a flawed human being, whose conduct may jeopardize their own future and that of their family.
I will prevent crime whenever I can, for the absence of crime and disorder is preferable to the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.
I will remember that my calling as a police officer is an honorable one, but should never set me apart from society or the community I serve. I have been granted authority and am enjoined by duty, yet I am a member of the public and share the same obligation to comply with the laws I am sworn to uphold.
If I do not violate this oath, I will one day retire from public service having earned the enduring respect of my colleagues and my community.