Originally Posted by philjam
Police took an oath to defend the Constitution.
If I remember correctly, the Florida oath is to "protect uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and of Florida;" Simple, right? Well, there's a catch. the very next sentence of a police officer's oath reads
"I will faithfully perform my duties, enforcing the law fairly with all due courtesy, discretion, and compassion;"
This presents a real dilemma for a sworn officer in our state. In order to uphold both the US and Florida constitutions he has to be derelict in his duties to enforce the law. He freely took an oath with all good intention, but in order to perform his first duty he has to be selective about the second.
When I got into law enforcement I thought I was entering a black and white world. If it's the law, I would enforce it. It didn't take long for me to realize there are so many subtle shades of gray involved that I didn't belong in this calling. I was young, I was inexperienced, and I was too compassionate for my own good. I frequently found myself doing things I had a moral problem with because the law said I had to do them. I lasted two years.
I was very fortunate to witness something on a wreck call one night that redirected my public service to EMS where shades of gray not only worked, but were encouraged. I went from 'this is the law... enforce it' to 'this is what the book says... do what works' and I loved it.
As things stand today, I would never consider wasting the two years I spent as a LEO. We are getting to the point where it is impossible for a LEO to live up to his/her oath, and if you are going to ask me to swear an oath it needs to be something I firmly believe I can accomplish. With all the contradictions involved at the federal, state. and local levels I couldn't take that oath in good faith.