Suffolk police to take Oath of Honor
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 7, 2004
Demonstrating and reinforcing leadership in their professional ethics and conduct is the mission of law enforcement in the city of Suffolk, and the Police Department has set Jan. 20 as the day to make an even stronger commitment to that goal.
Capt. Stephanie Burch of the police department said Wed-nesday, that ethics and integrity are words that are often heard, but those traits are not often demonstrated in corporate America and the workplace in general.
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&uot;The Suffolk Police Depart-ment is doing its part to see that does not happen in our profession,&uot; said Burch. &uot;Tuesday January 20, 2004 at 5:30 p.m., the department will hold a &uot;Law Enforcement Oath of Honor&uot; ceremony.&uot;
Burch said the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor was developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The IACP Web site states that &uot;having officers take an oath will reconfirm the significance of integrity within the agency and help bring the entire profession together to show that the vast majority of law enforcement officers not only are good, decent individuals, but also will step forward to stop unethical acts by any members of our profession.&uot;
The Law Enforcement Oath of Honor reads: &uot;On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character, or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the constitution, my community and the agency I serve.&uot;
During the Jan. 20 ceremony, Col. Charles W. Bennett Jr., Chief of the Lynchburg Police Department and member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Image and Ethics committee, will speak on the IACP’s role in developing the Oath of Honor and its importance in the profession of policing.
Burch said the Oath of Honor will then be administered to the department’s staff members, followed by a signing of the oath, which will be framed and proudly displayed within the Depart-ment.
&uot;All officers, except those responding to calls for service, will be required to attend the ceremony but their participation will be voluntary,&uot; said Burch. &uot;We want all of our personnel to be present to signify the importance of the event, but their decision to participate is up to them.
We want it to truly mean something to each officer taking the oath.&uot;
Suffolk Police Chief William A. Freeman said he believes the oath will be a great asset to each and every officer.
&uot;This is the first time our Department has made such a public commitment,&uot; said the chief. &uot;It is vitally important for the law enforcement profession to take the lead in bringing issues of ethics and integrity to the forefront in our community. Ethics and integrity are the cornerstones upon which this profession is built.&uot;
According to Burch, the oath will be repeated at all functions where members of Suffolk’s law enforcement team gathers, including training events, staff meetings and promotional ceremonies. The oath is also on display in all precinct buildings, to serve as a reminder to officers of the value of integrity and ethical behavior.