The Day The Brotherhood Of Law Enforcement Died

Catchy title eh? Well if you started to read this looking for answers you might be disappointed because this discussion is more about the questions. At this point in our profession asking the right questions may be more important than arguing about the correct answers.

Questions like: “What is the brotherhood and sisterhood of law enforcement”? and “if it existed, is it dead”?

Our profession has been under a tremendous amount of pressure and scrutiny lately, in fact the worst pressure I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I have to say that I think it will be for the best. Horrible things have happened under the watchful eyes of the cell phone camera and law enforcement officers around the country, and around the globe, are being examined like never before. Split second decisions are being captured on video so that they can be examined for years to come in all their slow motion, stop action, glory.

This is a discussion about the culture of law enforcement and if it is serving us, and our communities, or is it hindering us.

Robert “Coach” Lindsey a retired Colonel from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana, and I, will be presenting this topic next week at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) Conference in Chicago. We will be challenging law enforcement educators and trainers from around the globe to consider this question and all it’s ramifications. We will be challenging them to take this discussion back to their respective agencies and… keep the discussion going there. This is like a torch light that can be passed on and on. I encourage you to do the same. There is a discussion guide for you use available for download at the end of this article.

So, when did the brotherhood and sisterhood of law enforcement die? Did it die when other officers failed to summon help for wounded NYPD plainclothes Police Officer Frank Serpico in 1971?

Serpico had become known, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, for blowing the whistle on NYPD corruption. Hi actions later compelled Mayor John V. Lindsay to appoint the Knapp Commission to investigate corruption within the NYPD.

Did the brotherhood and sisterhood of law enforcement die when, alleged whistleblowing LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner began killing other cops? Or did it die when North Charleston police Officer Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott?

Perhaps you think the brotherhood and sisterhood of law enforcement is still alive.

The really important question here is, not whether the brotherhood and sisterhood of law enforcement is alive or dead but rather, what is it?

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

A similar question might be “What is the Thin Blue Line”?

We in law enforcement need to become very clear about what we stand for, who we protect and who we serve.

Some ugly things have happened in, and to, our profession lately and I ask: “What have you learned”? What has your agency learned for all of these negative events?

Finally, an important question to also ask is “Where is our profession going in the future”?

We need more training, we need better training. We need resilient cops who are both firm and compassionate. We need fit and mature guardians who make ethical decisions. If that’s not what we have now then how do we get there?

I encourage you to keep this discussion going at your agency. Download the discussion guide below.

“In Valor There Is Hope”
Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
Roman Senator, Governor, Consul and Historian

The True Blue Valor Pledge

On My Honor I Pledge:
To Uphold The Code of True Blue Valor
First I Will Do No Harm
I Am A Protector, Not a Bully
I Will Treat My Coworkers with Respect and Dignity
Because We Are All One Family
I Will Not Look The Other Way When a Peer is in Crisis
I Will Offer Support and Encouragement When Needed
I Will Take Charge and Intervene When Necessary
I Will Protect and Serve My Country, Community, Family and Peers
I will Support and Encourage My Brothers and Sisters in Law Enforcement
I Do All of This Because:
I “Walk My Talk”
and I say:
“We Take Care of Our Own”
and On My Watch
“No One Gets Left Behind”

©Copyright 2014 The Law Enforcement Survival Institute
Permission granted for law enforcement training use with citation only – not for commercial use
Learn more at:

I Dream A World
By Langston Hughes

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!
Source: Web accessed 2-1-15

CLICK HERE to download The Law Enforcement Survival Institute
Discussion Guide for “The Day The Brotherhood Of Law Enforcement Died” presented at the ILEETA Conference 2015

We need to create a culture of wellness that supports strong, fit and sound police officers. We still lose twice as many cops to suicide than are murdered in the line of duty.

We need healthy cops, who are sound of mind and body. We need ethical cops who make safe and right decisions. Let’s continue this discussion about the culture of law enforcement so that we can decide how it will best serve us, and our communities. We have an opportunity now to take charge of our own destiny rather than having it handed to us by an angry public.

Other resources you might find interesting (More are included in the downloadable discussion guide)

“Make it Safe” is a initiative created by Police Psychologist Jack Digliani that encourages all in law enforcement to make it safe for officers to ask for psychological support. DOWNLOAD IT HERE:

Chief’s Lead The Way
A program created to get chief executives to lead the way to proactive annual check-in’s with by Marla Friedman Psy.D., P.C. Director of Investigations, Licensed Psychologist
Co-Chair of Police Psychological Services Section of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police in 2014.  Download an information sheet here:

CLICK HERE to download the Interim Report of The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing or follow this link:

Bob “Coach” Lindsey
“Coach” Bob Lindsey retired from law enforcement after 34 years of service. He retired at the rank of Colonel from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. His career included military service, all sectors of law enforcement and governmental security. The colonel is a graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana and the FBI National Academy. He is best known as “Coach Bob” by countless numbers of police officers and law enforcement trainers throughout the United States and other nations. Since his retirement, he continues to utilize his vast experience to teach other law enforcement trainers. He is a founding member of the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers, serving on the Board of Directors of that organization for 16 years. He also holds the position of International Instructor Trainer emeritus with Monadnock Lifetime Products. He writes and creates Tactical Tips for, and he is a member and contributor to Team one and ILEETA. Colonel Lindsey has received numerous awards and honors including the ILEETA Outstanding Law Enforcement Trainer of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement award from ASLET. He has received many other honors which are too numerous to mention. Colonel Lindsey was personally trained in Verbal Judo techniques by Dr. George Thompson and now works with the Vistelar Group teaching Verbal Defense & Influence.

John Marx, CPP
John Marx is the Executive Director of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and founder of He has created our primary training programs: Armor Your Self™, Armor Your Agency™, and True Blue Valor™. John was a police officer for twenty-three years and served as a hostage negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective. Also during his career he served as administrator of his city’s Community Oriented Governance Initiative through the police department’s community policing project. John retired from law enforcement in 2002. John teaches the The Tactical Resilience™ & Ethical Policing Seminar along with Commander Eric Potterat, Ph.D. the Force Psychologist for the U.S. Navy SEAL’s and Chaplain Cary Friedman the author of “Spiritual Survival For Law Enforcement”.

CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival. We invite you to share your opinions, ask questions and suggest topics for us in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article.

At The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) we train law enforcement officers to cope with stress and manage all the toxic effects and hidden dangers of a career in law enforcement.

Our “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” on-site training program is an eight hour, hands-on, “How to” seminar that helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to build Tactical Resilience™ and survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE

The concept of “True Blue Valor™” is where one law enforcement officer has to muster the courage to confront a peer who is slipping both professionally and personally and endangering themselves, their peers and the public. It takes a system of organizational support and professional leadership to support and foster the concept of courage and intervention. We will train your trainers to deliver this program to your agency.
To learn more CLICK HERE

Our “Armor Your Agency™: How to Create a Healthy and Supportive Law Enforcement Agency” Program includes critical strategies that you will need to build a system of support and encouragement for a healthy and productive agency. To learn more CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to read more about The Law Enforcement Survival Institute.

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I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence. Thank you for reading!

About Editor

John Marx was a Police Officer for twenty-three years and served as a Hostage Negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective. Also during his career he served as administrator of his city's Community Oriented Governance initiative through the police department's Community Policing project. Today John combines his skills to consult with businesses about improving both their security and their customer service programs. John retired from law enforcement in 2002. When one of his friends, also a former police officer, committed suicide at age 38, John was devastated and began researching the problems that stress creates for police officers. He decided he needed to do something to help change those problems and he wanted to give something back to the profession that gave him so much. He started a project that has evolved into Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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  1. Hi William,
    Excellent words to live by, thank you!

  2. It is not surprising that you have had the courage to open this discussion on such a sensitive core of our police culture. Possibly the following personal mantra will support your contribution. I have been told to apply four rules to our professional code. – 1. Do not break the law. 2. You are not the law. 3. Treat everyone as though they are your relative, but do not trust them. 4. Honesty is the easiest position to defend.

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