Rollcall Wisdom – Guardians of the Peace



One Dollar Bill

Hi All!

Here continues the Rollcall Wisdom featuring Chief Harry Dolan.

Please see this video below wherein Chief Harry Dolan, former Raleigh, NC Police Chief, speaks about the essential definition of a Law Enforcement Officer.  It is his opinion of this definition, and it is one with which I wholeheartedly agree.

There is still an ongoing debate where Law Enforcement Officers make arguments about whether their role is one of a “Warrior” or “Guardian.” Those attached to the “Warrior” title argue that there are times when a Public Safety Professional must fight.  S/he must be strong, even fierce, if a battle is to be won.  I don’t think anyone would argue with the fact that the strength (as much ethical as physical) is a necessary tool to have in one’s arsenal at all times.

Those who argue for the “Guardian” title like to point out how relations between Law Enforcement and the communities its serves throughout the United States is in need of great repair.  That social contract is broken, and both sides need to work on mending it.  The “Guardian” title implies more of a protective role of a community and its citizens, rather than the fighting implication of the “Warrior” title.

I think we all know that any Public Safety Official who uses the term “Guardian” never, ever, wishes to imply that a warrior ethos is not part of it.  Unfortunately, those arguing for a “Warrior” role seem to be trying to imply just this, that is, that a “Guardian” is somehow less than a “Warrior,” and not strong enough.  That’s just bullshit.  It’s a puerile argument, and does nothing but support a very unhealthy us vs. them mindset that can set in with many LEOs due to forgetting their fundamental role to protect & serve.

Does anyone happen to remember what the late Dr. George Thompson, creator of Verbal Judo, said about the need of Law Enforcement to carry both the arrows of war AND the olive branch of peace?  He noted how Law Enforcement has done a great job with the arrows, but less than a great job with extending the olive branch of peace.

He did not say that the arrows were not needed.  No, we need them! What he said was that we haven’t balanced the arrows enough with the olive branch.  We need that branch too!

See the one dollar bill.  See the eagle, with the arrows of war in one talon, and the olive branch of peace in the other.  It’s balanced.  It has capacity for both war AND peace.

Oftentimes the so-called “Warrior” argument- at least as it’s articulated by many – is heavy on the arrows, while the olive branch is minimized.

Sometimes, the “Guardian” argument – at least as it’s articulated by many – is heavy on the olive branch, while the arrows are minimized.

I offer for serious reflection Chief Harry Dolan’s definition below.  He offers a model , an understanding, an ethos that, I argue, brings all this together in a balanced, whole way.

We can be no greater than the philosophical foundation by  which we define ourselves.   A person without vision perishes.  The same goes for a society.  Once an ethos is defined, then all of our tools, tactics, techniques, methods, and strategies flow from that definition.

Let’s get busy serving.






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