What Makes a Good Police Officer

The most current issue of FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin features an article entitled “The Courage to Teach” by Robert W. Peetz, M.C.J., who is a criminal justice professor at Midland College in Midland Texas who delivered this text as a speech to the 75th session of the Odessa College Police Academy in Pecos Texas. One section of Mr. Peetz’ speech stood out as I read it and I’d like to share it with you here.

“Good policing requires that we understand both what it is and why we do it. Good police officers create a sense of well-being in their communities. They protect everyone — citizens, victims, and criminals — and they serve the good of the community, not themselves. They are active in community affairs not because they have to, but because they want to get involved. Good police officers are mentors for others, officers and citizens, and they set positive examples. The mark of good police officers may not be what they do but what they are remembered for after they have moved on. Good police officers are good teachers, they think, analyze, and listen; they are objective; they instill confidence in others; and they leave behind a perception that they are knowledgeable and, above all, fair. Good policing is all about doing the right thing at the right time because it is the right thing to do.”

I would add to what Mr. Peetz’ stated that it is especially difficult to do all those things listed above while honoring the constitutional principles established by our Founders and to hold true to the ethics of our profession.

About Gary Smith

Chief Smith has served over 31 years in the criminal justice field. He is currently a consultant assisting public and private organizations better establish community goals and ethical conduct with the members of their organizations. Chief Smith serves as a facilitator, lecturer, professor and other capacities both inside and outside the criminal justice field.
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