Hakim Bellamy: Law Enforcement Oath of Honor

Albuquerque’s poet laureate Hakim Bellamy offers this poem as a part of the “Protect and Serve ABQ” series of community dialogue.

 

Law Enforcement Oath of Honor by hakim bellamy

Raise your right hand,

and repeat after me…

I do solemnly declare

upon my honour and conscience,

that I will act, at all times,

to the best of my ability and knowledge

in a manner befitting a police officer.

I do,

take this community to be my lawfully

wedded life.

To have and hold,

in sickness and in health

‘til death do us in.

I do solemnly swear,

with my hand on this bible

instead of this rifle,

in this court of public opinion,

that I am not judge

nor jury

nor Jesus.

I am just

a servant,

sworn to protect

this community.

I do thee serve.

I will preserve

the dignity

and will respect the rights

of all individuals.

I will reserve

the right to respect

the dignity

of all individuals.

I will serve,

to the best of my dignity,

the respect of all.

I will discharge my duties

with integrity

and will promote understanding

and conciliation.

I will discharge

only when it is my duty,

only when we’re beyond understanding,

only when we are beyond conciliation.

I will only discharge integrity.

I will not

Not even when my life is threatened.

Only when your life is in danger,

because I signed up to be a hero

not a coward.

Because the only thing I am allowed to be afraid of

is losing my community’s trust

Because anyone can get a gun

and call themselves a cowboy,

but not every gun can get a conscience

and call himself a cop.

I will exercise my authority

as a police officer

in the manner intended by the law.

I will exercise my compassion

as a police officer

because I am not above the law,

because it is not beneath me,

because I am not “the law.”

Just another one of the people

the law protects.

I will faithfully obey

the orders of my superiors,

and will be ready

to confront danger

in the line of duty.

It is my duty

To faithfully obey

my moral compass,

and will be ready

to confront my superiors

when they are out of line.

And that’s an order!

I will act with honesty,

courtesy and regard

for the welfare of others,

and will endeavor to develop

the esprit de corps.

I will not act.

I will be honest, personified.

I will be courtesy of personhood

Even to those without homes

Or on welfare.

I will endeavor to say

“Hello” from time to time.

Develop morale in the community

because it’s bigger than some code,

because it’s bluer than some code,

and desperately in need of sunlight.

Because the root word of morale

is moral.

And because it’s just as easy

to always be looking for

what someone has done right,

as it is to always be looking for

what someone is doing wrong.

I solemnly swear

to be as obsessed with building community

as I am with broken laws.
I will act justly

and impartially

and with propriety

towards my fellow officers.

So long as they are just,

impartial

and proper

towards my fellow citizens.

I do solemnly declare

upon my honour and conscience,

that I will act,

like and officer of the peace

at all times,

to the best of my ability and knowledge.
I will constantly strive to honour

this oath in my service

as a police officer,

so help me God.

© Hakim Bellamy April 13, 2014

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