Almost every state and county have some form of this slogan on their badges, patches, uniforms or the side of their patrol cars. It is intended to inspire motivation and courage within each officer or official to do his or her best. But how often do we really stop and think about what it means?

TO SERVE: Who? THE PEOPLE. Other possible answers that may have been implied our stated outright may include “To serve the government”, “To serve the law” or “To serve your commanding officer”.

While there may be a grain of truth in there somewhere, let’s remember who we’re all REALLY there to serve: The People. The guy next door; the family down the street; the good, hard-working people of this great land who see their liberty as a precious gift and exercise it with great care, being ever conscious not to tread on the liberty of others. Those who still honor our Constitution as the establishment of the greatest form of government ever to exist on Earth.

AND PROTECT: What? THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE. Wait a minute, isn’t our job to write tickets and catch bad guys? We may do a lot of that on a day-to-day basis, but never lose sight of what we are really all about. We are about keeping our communities (and thereby, the nation as a whole) a free, happy, safe place to live.

Why do we catch and punish lawbreakers? Because if our laws are constitutionally correct, they prohibit us from doing only those things that infringe on the rights or freedoms of others.

For example, when a thief takes something that someone else has worked for, he is denying that citizen the right to their own property. When someone commits a violent crime, he is damaging the most valuable real property a person can own, which is their own body. Traffic laws are in place for the same reason: To protect life and property.

But all too often, our lawmakers enact more laws in a supposed effort to protect everyone from everything, even from ourselves. Lawmakers cross the line when they attempt this by violating one of our most precious constitutional rights of all: The right to determine our own destiny.

We often do not realize how blessed we are to live in a land where each of us can choose:

  • What job we will take, and under what conditions, and when we will change jobs
  • What education we will gain
  • Where we will live
  • How big of a family we will have (or whether to have one at all)
  • What kind of house to live in
  • What kind of vehicle to drive
  • How to restrain ourselves and our passengers while operating a vehicle
  • What religion we will follow
  • How, where and when we will invest our earnings
  • Where, when and what type of medical care we will seek
  • What medicines we will use
  • What kind of foods we eat
  • What kind of milk we drink
  • What we will spend our money on
  • How we will use our own property
  • How we defend ourselves, our families and our property
  • How we care for the poor and needy in our communities
  • How to educate our own children
  • What values/morals to teach our children

We have already lost our rights to do at least half of the things on that list as well as many others, to some extent! What is going on here? Simply this: Power-hungry government officials – backed by people with hidden agendas – have convinced us to sacrifice our freedoms bit by bit, always in the name of some supposedly noble cause (usually something to do with protecting us from some imaginary or greatly exaggerated danger). And with every change they gain a little more power; a little more control.

But what does this have to do with the CSPOA?

The county sheriff is the line in the sand. The county sheriff is the one who can say to the feds, “Beyond these bounds you shall not pass.” This is not only within the scope of the sheriff’s authority; it’s the sheriff’s sworn duty. And what about the little guys; the individual police officers? It’s all about judgement calls. When you pull over a frazzled apologetic mother with a minivan full of crazed kids who has just ‘rolled’ a stop sign, do you treat her the same as you would a pack of bad-mouthed teenagers in a hot rod that smells like dope for the same offense? The people of this land would certainly hope that you would have more charity than that, and we at the CSPOA believe that you do.

Remember to ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this law I am enforcing? Am I helping to serve the people and protect their rights by doing this, or am I doing something else entirely?”

This is why we encourage you, the next time you hear “Serve and Protect” to repeat in your own mind the true meaning, embodied in our slogan: To Serve The People And Protect Their Rights.