Whats Your Credo?

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 6.45.32 PMI believe that all of us in law enforcement need to determine how to strengthen and condition ourselves to endure the rigors of our career in law enforcement.

One way to start to do that is to discover what your most important beliefs are as a law enforcement professional. One such statement of belief is the personal credo.

I’ve always liked the credo expressed by John Wayne’s character in the movie The Shootist: “I will not be wronged, I will not be insulted and I will not be laid a hand upon. I don’t do these things to others and I require the same from them.”

That credo says more about what he won’t tolerate rather than what he believes in, but it is all food for thought as you decide what you believe in.

To Protect and To Serve

You may recognize this motto that has in it’s simplicity been adopted by most of the law enforcement personnel around the world but it has it’s roots with the Los Angeles Police Department here in the United States. This famous motto was the winning entry submitted by Officer Joseph S. Dorobeck for a contest held by LAPD as published in their internal BEAT magazine in February 1955.

“To Protect and to Serve” became the official motto of the LAPD Police Academy, and it was kept constantly before the officers in training as the aim and purpose of their profession. With the passing of time, the motto received wider exposure and acceptance throughout the department. Today that agency motto is recognized, and has been adopted, by many agencies around the world. Source: http://www.lapdonline.org/history_of_the_lapd/content_basic_view/1128 Web accessed 5-12-14.

THE CREDO PROJECT is a special educational initiative of the Police Chaplain Project dedicated to unlocking the power of CREDO in daily life.

Over the past year, Rabbi Cary Friedman (author of Spiritual Survival for Law Enforcement) and Phillip LeConte, co-founder of the Police Chaplain Project, have sought out members of the law enforcement community who… have developed successful, sometimes offbeat strategies for staying spiritually connected to their profession.

The journey has revealed the enduring influence of childhood heroes, from The Batman to John Wayne, and the power of young people to reinvigorate and inspire.

THE CREDO PROJECT offers police officers, or indeed anyone looking to tap into their highest aspirations, a potentially powerful portal through which to enter the realm of spiritual.

Spirituality is not just about religion, it’s about honor, integrity, ethics and the codes and mottos we live by. Officers, civilian employees and even law enforcement agencies need to establish what they believe in and put it in writing.

One way to strengthen and condition yourself to endure the rigors of a career in law enforcement is to discover your core beliefs by writing a personal credo statement.

THE CREDO PROJECT also offers Personal Credo development ideas you can find by clicking here:

They even provide a downloadable suggestion sheet to help you write your own credo. Get their info sheet by clicking here: http://www.chaplainusa.org/s/writing-Your-CREDO.pdf

Then use their form to write your own credo by clicking here:

THE CREDO PROJECT also offers a CREDO LEADERSHIP GUIDE that provides strategies for putting CREDO to work in your department. Click here to learn more:

I believe law enforcement is the most noble of professions and believe that law enforcement professionals deserve a better quality life rather than suffering in silence as they try to do the right things and help others. I work to provide them the tools to plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.

I don’t pretend to be an expert in this subject matter. What I am is someone who has survived a career in law enforcement, albeit with some wounds, and who has grown to learn what I can still do in my life to heal and create a positive quality of life. The best I can hope to accomplish is to share with you what I have learned and invite you to share what you have learned. Together we can work cooperatively to improve our chances at survival and a positive quality of life. Together we can help those who follow in our footsteps be able to do the same.

If you acknowledge that our business deals with the balance between good and evil, and if you acknowledge that we are constantly confronted with so many unanswered questions about why bad things happen to good people then you need to consider this area of your self for the purposes of personal growth, personal strength and most importantly personal protection.

Where does your strength come from?
Where do your values come from?
Where does your integrity come from?
Where does your honor come from?

Can you find the words that define your life?

I highly recommend the excellent book “Spiritual Survival for Law Enforcement” written by one of our faculty members Cary Friedman. Cary is a law enforcement chaplain, rabbi and the chaplain showcased in the Credo Project videos. Here’s an interesting quote from his book:

“The intensity of the career of law enforcement is what distinguishes it from all other careers. In less intense careers, you might be able to get by, or even thrive, without consideration of the job’s spiritual dimensions; you might not need strong motivation and spiritual introspection to survive. But, in this intensely demanding career of law enforcement, you just don’t have that “luxury.” To succeed, you have to be motivated and you have to be “in touch with” – aware of – that motivation, the “why,” as Victor Frankl calls it. An officer cannot long survive, and certainly never thrive, without that powerful, robust, healthy, meaningful, personal, compelling motivation.”  Friedman, Cary A. (2012-05-19). Spiritual Survival for Law Enforcement (pp. 37-38). Compass Books. Kindle Edition.

Find Cary’s book by clicking here: http://www.spiritualsurvivalbook.com/

Here’s a link to an interesting article from the Alliance for Integrity entitled: “An Integrity Credo: Do You Have One?”

Lot’s of people have credo’s, even big corporations. The Johnson & Johnson company has a credo that guides their employees as well as their business decisions. They say:

“The values that guide our decision making are spelled out in Our Credo. Put simply, Our Credo challenges us to put the needs and well-being of the people we serve first. Our Credo is more than just a moral compass. We believe it’s a recipe for business success. The fact that Johnson & Johnson is one of only a handful of companies that have flourished through more than a century of change is proof of that”.

Each of their primary statements, listed below, are followed by a much more comprehensive descriptive paragraph that all fit on one page. You can read the whole Johnson & Johnson credo by CLICKING HERE

We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services.
We are responsible to our employees, the men and women who work with us throughout the world.
We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well.
Our final responsibility is to our stockholders.

Here’s my stab at a personal credo:
“I live my life through Leadership, Kindness and Personal Excellence as I promote Courage, Justice and Creativity all the while maintaining a Positive Focus, Good Humor and a Growth Oriented Attitude”.

In my forthcoming book, due to be published next year, entitled Armor Your Self™: How To Survive a Career in Law Enforcement I provide a number of exercises you can do as an individual, with a partner, in roll-call or with your family to strengthen and condition your “self” to endure the spiritual traumas of this career. The book also gives you suggestions to strengthen and condition your “self” physically, mentally and emotionally as well.

Some of my recommendations for your Armor Your Self™ Spiritual Workouts encourage you to find some exercise to practice for 10 minutes daily. This could be reading, discussion, research or some other kind of study. You might consider topics that are important to you or that come up in your daily activities that you think need further examination.

As a teaser for the book here is one of the Spiritual Strengthening and Conditioning Exercises:

Take about ten minutes to sit quietly and consider:

What does your integrity mean to you?
Ask yourself “what are my beliefs about integrity?”
Ask yourself what “giving your word” means to you and to others?
What are your beliefs about honesty?
Ask what you would never be willing to do because it would compromise your integrity?
Finally, write down your thoughts about what integrity means to you and consider writing a credo or concise statement about your beliefs about integrity.

You can also learn more about the Law Enforcement Survival Institute, our On-site Armor Your Self™ training program and some of our other programs with the links listed below.

May all the blessings of this holiday season be with you. Stay Safe and Stay Well!

John Marx

Please remember that 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 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.

CLICK HERE if you would like to contact us to learn more about training for your organization.

I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of CopsAlive.com. Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

CopsAlive.com 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 CopsAlive.com. Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! CopsAlive.com gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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