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Also see Legal Humor and Law Related Song Titles.
(Velma West Skyes, 1960s)
("What do they want?" Antoinette said.
One answered, "The people cry for bread.")
Hungry, repressed . . . Have-nots rebel,
All history shows. But sad to tell
It now is youthful Haves we fear,
And their cries are not for bread--but beer!
Not ignorant--some college-trained,
Amoral, lawless, unrestrained,
The wreck and revel, unconcerned
Since what they Have, they Have Not earned.
(John Mark Haynes, used with permission)
Watch your six, stand your ground
Fight like hell, if you are ever knocked down
As bold as a lion, as gentle as a lamb
Back your buddy, if he is in a jam
First in the charge, last in the retreat
Keep a watchful eye, every day on your beat
The horrors you face, the dreams that haunt your sleep
The thin blue line, keeping the wolf from the sheep
Always in the yellow, never in the white
Standing in the vanguard, doing what is right
The gentle warrior, the righteous knight
Stay the course, fight the good fight
On duty or off, keep your tools at your side
Pray you never need them, and if you do may God be your guide
Until He takes your gun, and says, "Enter in and rest"
Always be on guard, always do your best
Oh Almighty God, whose great power and
eternal wisdom embraces the universe
Watch over all policeman and law
Protect them from harm in the
performance of their duty to stop crime,
robberies, riot and violence.
We pray, help them keep our streets
and homes safe by day and night.
We commend them to your loving care
because their duty is dangerous.
Grant them your unending strength
and courage in their daily assignments.
Dear God, protect these brave men;
grant them your almighty protection.
Unite them safely with their families
after duty has ended.
(By Sgt. George Hahn, LAPD, Ret., engraved on the Peace Officer Memorial in CA, across from the west steps of the Capitol Building.)
I never dreamed it would be me,
My name for all eternity,
Recorded here at this hallowed place,
Alas my name, no more my face.
"In the line of duty," I hear them say;
My family now the price will pay.
My folded flag stained with their tears;
We only had those few short years.
The badge no longer on my chest,
I sleep now in eternal rest
My sword I pass to those behind,
And pray they keep this thought in mind.
I never dreamed it would be me,
And with heavy heart and bended knee;
I ask for all here from the past,
Dear God, let my name be the last.
A policeman is a composite of what all men are . . . a mingling of saint and sinners . . . dust and deity. Cold statistics wave the fan over the stinkers . . . underscore instances of dishonesty and brutality because they are news. What that REALLY means is they are exceptional, unusual--not commonplace. Buried under the froth is the fact that less than one half of one percent of policemen misfit that uniform. And that's a better average than among clergymen.
What is a policeman made of. He of all men is at one the most needed and the most unwanted . . . a strangely nameless creature who is "sir" to his face . . . and "pig" to his back.
He must be such a diplomat that he can settle differences between individuals . . . so that each will think he won . . . But if the policeman is neat, he's a flirt. If he's not, he's a grouch.
In an instant he must make decisions which require months for a lawyer. But if he hurries, he's careless. If he's deliberate, he's lazy. He must be first to an accident . . . infallible with a diagnosis . . . he must be able to start breathing, stop bleeding, tie splints and above all be sure the victim goes home without a limp, or expect to be sued.
The police officer must know every gun . . . draw on the run . . . and hit where it doesn't hurt. He must be able to whip two men his size and half his age . . . without damaging his uniform and without being brutal. If you hit him, he's a coward. If he hits you, he's a bully.
A policeman must know everything and not tell. He must know where all the sin is and not partake.
The policeman must, from a single human hair, be able to describe the crime, the weapon and the criminal.. and tell you where the criminal is hiding. But if he catches the criminal he's lucky . . . if he doesn't he's a dunce. If he gets promoted he has political pull. If he doesn't he's a dullard.
The policeman must chase bum leads to a dead end and stake out ten nights to tag one witness who saw it happen, but refused to remember.
He runs files and writes reports until his eyes ache to build a case against some felon who will get dealt out by a shameless shamus or an honorable who isn't.
A policeman must be a minister . . . social worker . . . a diplomat . . . a tough guy . . . and a gentleman. And of course he will have to be a genius, for he will have to feed a family on a policeman's salary.
Lord bless the ones who wear the badge
The ones who walk the beat,
Protect and keep them safe
While they're on the street.
As they wait and as they watch
Doing good for all,
guide their minds and give them strength
For each and every call.
Ready to put their lives on the line
Give them courage each day,
Let them know you're always there
In each and every way.
So bless the ones who wear the badge,
Protect them from harm,
Always keep them safe
And in your loving arms.
When I start my tour of duty God,
Wherever crime may be,
as I walk the darkened streets alone,
Let me be close to thee.
Please give me understanding
with both the young and old.
Let me listen with attention
until their story's told.
Let me never make a judgment
in a rash or callous way,
but let me hold my patience
let each man have his say.
Lord if some dark and dreary night,
I must give my life,
Lord, with your everlasting love
protect my children and my wife.
Oh lord, I am a woman, not a man,
I am a Mother not a Dad,
I am a wife with responsibilities that men have never had,
I need understanding from all my peers,
that I am not here to take away a man's job,
I am doing it because I care.
I took the job to enforce the law,
to do my part in the fight to have justice FOR ALL.
To be professional, to make a career, Great Lord,
help me when they say I should not be here.
I work the long hours, face all the dangers and do the same
things that they do in law enforcement matters,
Grant me the respect like the others, for I am one.
Set aside for every other one, Lord,
being a policewoman is the most challenging job I have ever done,
be with me on my daily run, as you are with us all,
I thank you for the ability to enforce the law.
A special kind of woman: a cut above the rest,
That's a Police Officer's Wife, rating her best.
How many good byes are whispered, joined with a fond embrace?
As duty steals her man, for the danger he must face.
How often have meals been ruined--or tender moments disturbed,
by a call for special duty, sparking loyalty unswerved?
It's a devil of a job, for an angel like this,
Who for the love of her man, must forsake that kiss,
She can run a garden tractor; even paint a room in need,
How she can stretch a dollar is a miracle indeed.
She's mother, lover, chauffeur and nurse,
A living symbol of: "for better or for worse."
Rich is the man, reaping his rewards in life,
Who chose to be the other half of
A Police Officer's Wife.
The young man came forward, his face drawn and sad
And he held out his hand, displaying his badge.
The old chief rocked slowly and put his hands in his lap
And shook his head gently, and said, "What is this crap?"
The young cop sniffed, and from his eye wiped a tear,
"I've given you my best for almost one year.
But I make no difference, as I once thought I could,
There is far more evil out there than is good."
The old chief stared up into the young rookie's eyes
And tried to recall something clever and wise.
"Tell me" he said, to the once eager young cop.
"How many DUIs in a year have you popped?"
"Forty-two," the rookie replied with great pride.
"And had you not, how many more might have died?
It's not how many are arrested, now, is it?
It's how many less accident scenes you must visit."
The kid hung his head, and flexed his strong hands,
"But, sir," he said, softly," You don't understand.
"We're greatly outnumbered, the drugs are the worst,
The schools are like hell and the streets , they are cursed."
"Dealers breed like damn roaches. On the kids, they all prey,
And even when arrested, they are out the next day."
The old chief set his jaw, and tapped a red finger,
And on the young cop, his eyes sadly lingered.
"If one little kid cannot get connected,
If one pregnant junkie finds the strength to reject it,
If one lousy addict decides he can beat it,
If one crack-head in a million says I just don't need it . . .
Then you have removed his greatest temptation,
If only for a night, it might be his salvation,
And wars are not won by those who say: Screw it.
They are won by the men who decide they can do it.
The rookie pulled up an old wooden chair
And running a hand through his shock of brown hair,
"But what about the children and poor battered wives?
Why can't we stop it and fix all those lives?"
"Each time you set foot in that same, run-down house
Each time you go back to bust that same dirty louse,
For the children and wife, the violence has ceased,
If for only a few hours, you offer them peace."
"You cannot dictate their sad chosen path,
You cannot stop his booze-laden wrath,
You can't pack their belongings and cart them away
But you can prevent murder for just one more day."
"But sir," he said, his heart heavy like lead,
"I know there are dirtbags who wish I were dead,
But the public, the press, the politicians fling mud,
And who says thank you when we shed some blood?"
The chief pursed his lips, his answer unknown
For he knew it was this pain that hurt to the bone,
"There's no easy answers for the ache that you feel,
But appreciation and praise just ain't part of the deal."
"The respect, gratitude and admiration, too
Will not come from people who can't do what we do.
You ask for a sense of honor and pride,
My advice, my son, is to look deep down inside."
The young cop stared down at the badge in his hand
And he knew he would not resign as he planned,
For he saw the badge now as not just something he does,
It was not just a symbol . . . It's what he was.
In the simple performance of duty,
he pinned on a badge,
checked his gear with a practiced eye,
and kissed his loved ones good-bye.
In the simple performance of duty,
he reported for work,
joked with his buddies at roll call,
and made his last trip down the squad room hall.
In the simple performance of duty,
he answered the call
to help the helpless, to find the lost,
no matter the danger or how great the cost.
In the simple performance of duty,
he lay down his life,
for those in peril he tried to save,
our brave friend went to his grave.
In the simple performance of duty,
we honor his deed,
as we carry him to rest in a flag-draped casket,
long after the world has forgotten,
we shall never forget.
Never judge or regret, what he did,
In the simple performance of duty
I have been where you fear to be,
I have seen what you fear to see,
I have done what you fear to do--
All these things I have done for you.
I am the person you lean upon,
The one you cast your scorn upon,
The one you bring your troubles to--
All these people I've been for you.
The one you ask to stand apart,
The one you feel should have no heart,
The one you call "The Officer in Blue,"
But I'm just a person, just like you.
And through the years I've come to see,
That I am not always what you ask of me;
So, take this badge . . . take this gun . . .
Will you take it . . . will anyone?
And when you watch a person die
And hear a battered baby cry,
Then do you think that you can be
All these things you ask of me?
Somebody killed a policeman today and
A part of America died
A piece of our country he swore to protect
Will be buried with him at his side
The suspect who shot him will stand up in court,
With counsel demanding his rights
While a young widowed mother must work for her kids,
and spend many long, lonely nights
The beat that he walked was a battlefield too
Just as if he'd gone off to war
Though the flag of our nation won't fly at half mast,
To his name they will add a gold star
Yep, somebody killed a Policeman today,
In your town or mine
While we slept in comfort behind our locked doors,
A cop put his life on the line
Now his ghost walks a beat on a dark city street,
And he stands at each new rookies side
He answered the call, of himself gave his all
And a part of America died
The policeman stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining.
Just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now, policeman.
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My church have you been true?"
The policeman squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry badges
can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
and at times my talk was rough,
and sometimes I've been violent,
Because the streets are awfully tough.
But I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep . . .
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fear.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't . . . I'll understand.
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod.
As the policeman waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, policeman,
You've borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in hell."
I PLEDGE MY COURAGE-
courage to race and conquer my own fear;
courage to take me where others will not go.
I PLEDGE MY STRENGTH
strength of body to protect others;
strength of spirit to lead others . . .
I PLEDGE MY DEDICATION
dedication to my job, to do it well;
dedication to my community, to keep it safe . . .
I PLEDGE MY CONCERN
for those who trust me;
and my compassion for those who need me.
Lord, I ask for courage--
Courage to face and conquer my own fears . . .
Courage to take me where others will not go . . .
I ask for strength--
Strength of body to protect others,
and strength of spirit to lead others . . .
I ask for dedication--
Dedication to my job, to do it well,
Dedication to my community, to keep it safe . . .
And please, Lord, through it all, be by my side.
(Note from author, Carl Swenson: I read a facebook entry from Ofc. Jay Stalien, concerning his thoughts on being a black police officer and having to deal with widespread hatred from the black community. I was struck by the difficulty he must face doing his job for a number of people who openly express virulent hatred for him. I wanted to express some admiration and encouragement to him, and the last line of Rudyard Kipling's "Gunga Din" leapt into mind. So I wrote a short poem expressing some of my thoughts.)
To Officer Jay Stalien, with sincere gratitude, (apologies to R.K.)
Polish your badge and see the shine,
Put on your blues one more time,
Check your weapon double, through and through.
"See you soon" to those you love,
A quick prayer to God above,
To serve and protect . . . there's so much to do.
You are there for when they call,
You are there throughout it all,
Every single time they need you, you appear.
They spit on you and curse you,
And scream aloud to kill you,
But do your job you will, your duty's clear.
And they say it to your face,
You’re a traitor to your race,
You stay the course, tho' the streets be mean.
Millions support what you have done,
My deepest thanks, tho' I'm just one,
You’re a better man than I am, Jay Stalien.
(I helped my daughter make this album for her husband for Christmas.)
We used a black leather album with mostly black, navy and cement paper and deckle scissors. Jodi did a lot of journaling on the computer and printed it on acid free paper.
(Note: If your police department has green or brown uniforms you might use evergreen ABC stickers with brown, tan and green paper. That also works for Army albums.)
We couldn't find law related die-cuts so we cut a shape similar to one of his uniform patches and another like a sheriff's badge and used them in various colors to write dates, titles and other information. We also used a small and medium size star punch to make decorations. On some of them she wrote things like "Super", Great", etc. (Color copies of badges, patches, etc. make great decorations for albums.)
Jodi started the book with Kevin's academy days. On one page she made a double border with a black pen and inside that she wrote the words to the Miranda Rights around the page. There is a running joke between them about that. When they first got married Jodi wanted a cat. Kevin did not like cats but finally gave in. His only stipulation was that they name it "Ruger". Jodi didn't know it was the name of a gun. A year later when they got their second cat she named it Miranda just to even the score (she was a legal assistant at the time).
Jodi included his business cards, commencement program, newspaper articles of incidents he was involved in as a patrolman, etc.
The quote she used under his photo of his academy graduation was: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)
On one double-page spread she used a wavy ruler to draw a road at the bottom of the pages (2 solid lines and one dashed in between). She put a police car sticker at the far right and a stoplight at the far left.
On one of the pages she put a navy colored 3 by 6 inch rectangle. She cut number shapes out of it (his beat number). She then put a piece of a map for the part of the city where his beat was under the paper so the map showed through where the numbers were cut out.
She made several pocket pages for certificates, commendations, etc. On the front of the pockets she put a summary of what was in the pocket. Then she put a page protector over the whole thing. You have to take the protector off to take the things out but with the summary you hardly ever need to.
She used "The Policeman's Prayer" on one page and "A Part of America Died" on another. (see above) I would put in the words to "The Night Chicago Died" because it is one of my all-time favorite songs--but I don't think she is going to :-(
On one page she put Kevin's first paycheck and other information about his salary and benefits. She decorated with dollar sign die-cuts.
He recently got on the swat team so she did pages for that.
She did some family pages at the end: their engagement photo (he was wearing his uniform); photos of their three daughters either with him in uniform or by his police car. He is now a detective and she took photos of them sitting on his desk.
It is a simple album without a lot of extra color and decoration but looks great.
Here a site with police related poems and quotes: PolicePoems.com.