The following excerpt is from a speech which was given by Police Chief Michel Wendel of Charles City, Iowa at the graduation the 219th class of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy on December 14, 2007. I really liked what he said about “law enforcement.”
You will be called to try and wake someone in the middle of the night who has laid themselves to rest for the last time. This isn’t enforcing the law, but it is law enforcement. You will be the first to arrive at the scene of medical emergencies and start CPR on a heart attack victim or try and stop the bleeding of someone who is injured, this isn’t enforcing law, but it is law enforcement. You will respond to traffic accidents and tend to peoples broken bodies before doing anything else and when things don’t turn out as we would like, it will be your job to visit the next of kin and deliver the news, this isn’t enforcing the law either, but it is law enforcement. You will help the elderly to their feet when they have fallen and can’t get up, and you will be called to help get cats out of trees. The list is endless and only a fraction of it will be enforcing the law, but all of it is law enforcement.
You took the job because you want to help people and give back to the community. You are members of your community, members who realize that sometimes there are things that need to be done that are not easy to do, and you think you have the stomach to do the job and want to protect your family, friends, and neighbors. So remember the reason you took the job, your family, friends, and neighbors. And remember, they are your greatest asset. They are your greatest asset because they will be there to support you when things are bad, and I can guarantee you that there will be bad times.