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Don’t tarnish the badge

The badge is a widely recognized symbol of authority; it is also a symbol of public faith and trust

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for public safety.

Today’s Tip is for everyone who wears a badge and everyone in public safety.

Physically, the badge is a decorative piece of metal or it can also be embroidered on a shirt. Symbolically, it is much more. In many academies, recruits are told not to “tarnish the badge;” not to soil or ruin the reputation of the agency or the profession.

According to lore, a badge is a symbol of power that stems from the Middle Ages when knights wore coats of arms for the nobility they served. Now much smaller, badges are often worn over the heart. The badge is a widely recognized symbol of authority. It is also a symbol of public faith and trust.

Are you doing anything that tarnishes the badge? I am not talking about the kind of corruption that lands you in prison or makes for a successful Hollywood movie. I am talking about things that you might do without really thinking about the effects. It does not take a criminal offense to undermine the sacred trust that society has placed in us.

Each time someone uses a badge to get a free or discounted meal, to cut in line, get a prime parking space, or access an event without paying, our reputation is tarnished. The community is watching, and many are taking pictures too.

Remember our Code of Ethics. Live a life unsullied and as an example to all. Behave in a manner that does not discredit your agency or tarnish the badge.

That’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham, signing off. 

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.