By Jerry Moore
There’s something strange about cops. When most people are running away from terror, police officers run toward it. That is how they are wired.
Every night while we all sleep safely, these men and women are out there watching out for us. The things they deal with might just amaze you.
In February one of my officers was involved in a gun battle in the middle of Commercial Street. Thankfully he won, and thankfully that isn’t routine, but it is something my officers have to be ready for each and every time they put on their uniform.
We deal with people who are in need, who don’t know who else to call, who may have no one else to turn to. And we deal with people who expect a service from us—to protect them and make them feel safe. Every call we go on we are interacting with people. I am fortunate to have great people within the department who take that responsibility seriously.
I tell my officers this community really wants to love its police department. I know this from the comments I receive. People want to believe in us; they want to trust us; they want to truly feel that when they are in need and call for help we will be there for them.
They want to know we will treat them fairly and that we have personal morals and ethics that guide everything we do. They want to know we’ll be professional, we’ll treat them with respect, and we’ll work hard to make them proud of us. And they need to know a community that understands and believes in what their police department is all about is a much stronger community.
There is one thing I always remind my officers. When you are finished handling a call for help, the people you just served may forget what you said or did, but they won’t ever forget how you made them feel. And I truly mean never, because we stand for more than most professions do. We stand for what people in this community want to believe in. And that is:
- Always do the right thing
- Uphold your oath of office
- Take care of people who can’t take care of themselves
I’ve been doing this a long time—more than 34 years, in fact. I still get a rush every time I put my uniform on. I get a rush because I know how lucky I am to be able to call myself a police officer and a member of this agency. I get a rush because I am proud of what I do and what the men and women of this police department accomplish. I get a rush because I am so lucky to call this police department and the Salem community my home.
Jerry Moore is Salem’s chief of police. This is part two of excerpts from a speech he gave at a fundraiser Feb. 29 for the Salem Police Foundation.