Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

The New Police Motto – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 22, 2019



When I look back on my experience at the 32nd Precinct I see real “peace officers” at work. No SWAT raids, no armored vehicles.  Just cops getting by with their wits, guts, and courage.

When I look at the current police culture I see a theme of “Officer Safety First, Citizens Second.”  Which leads to the other new unofficial motto “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later.”

I recently viewed a video of a speech made by Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY, Engine 69 in Harlem.

Ray’s speech was original and referred to the fire service but it mirrored the problem we see with the “Officer Safety First” police problem plaguing this country.[1]

I would like to adapt Ray’s speech and make it relevant to the problem with today’s policing.

The mantra of “the officer is first and the citizen, or even the criminal, is second” must be changed. This pecking order is the problem. This change can only come from good leadership and effective training starting at the police academy level and continuing throughout an officer’s career.

Attempting to make the officer’s job safer by teaching him to place himself above those in need is wrong.  We have seen this time and again with botched militarized search warrants and with officers refusing to engage a school shooter. 

When that parent or teacher meets the officer outside the school or their house and tells the officer their child is trapped at gunpoint inside the officer is their last hope.  What is an officer to do?  Wait for a SWAT team or armored vehicle?  Wait for five other officers for backup?  No, the officer must find a way to save that life if humanly possible.  What are the officer’s chances?  Their chances are always the same-50/50.  Either you do it or you don’t.

We need more courage, determination, and pride. We need more of the old style “peace officer” tactics used as depicted on television by that Sheriff that rarely carried a gun-Andy Griffith. Some cops will respond “you are aware we are not in Mayberry anymore don’t you?” My reply to that is that people are people if you treat them with dignity and respect whether in Mayberry or Harlem.  We need to use tactics like those depicted by Paul Newman’s character in the movie “Fort Apache: The Bronx.”[2]

I will leave you with the following:  Too much officer safety makes Johnny a terrible leader, a poor last hope for the citizens he has sworn an oath to protect and serve, and a first rate candidate for a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality.

[1] See:

[2] See:



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