Police Agencies around The Nation Make a Hippocratic Oath for Policing

Policing pledges to bring peace to communities with the first-ever “Peace Officer Promise”

With as many as  70 million encounters between police and community members annually, issues of police use of force remain top of mind in cities and communities around the nation.  In response, the 501 (c)(3) organization Police2Peace announced today “The Peace Officer Promise”, policing’s first-ever Hippocratic oath for policing to seek to ‘do no harm’ while serving and protecting American communities.  

The Richland County (SC) Sheriff’s Department was the first to make The Peace Officer Promise in Columbia, South Carolina today.  More than 80 police chiefs and sheriffs from departments around the country already support the Promise including Arizona State University (AZ), Fairfield (CA), University of Nevada Reno (NV), Rahway (NJ), Ashland (OR), St. Paul (MN) and Green Bay (WI).  Municipal and community groups across the nation support the Promise, including the Police Advisory Commission for the City of Philadelphia.  And national policing organizations including the National Policing Institute, National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund support The Peace Officer Promise.  In all, more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies around the nation have been invited to support The Peace Officer Promise.  It reads:

We, the members of the (insert policing agency name,) promise that while doing our best to control crime, we will do everything in our power to do no harm to the communities we serve and protect.

Law enforcement agencies are personalizing The Promise with their own language to reflect the uniqueness of their communities.

“NAWLEE is pleased to support Police2Peace as they launch the Peace Officer Promise,” said Kym Craven, Executive Director. “Programs like these will help build community trust and create change in policing.  The Promise upholds the values that our members and stakeholders exhibit on a daily basis as they ensure the nobility of policing remains a cornerstone of the profession.”

“Police officers seeking to ‘do no harm’ may be the most powerful concept in policing today,” said Jim Bueermann, a 40+ year veteran of policing, retired police chief and past president of the National Police Foundation, now called the National Policing Institute. “The Peace Officer Promise is policing’s Hippocratic Oath.  Like the oath which physicians take to do no harm, a similar oath is needed which acknowledges the notion of harm reduction by the police.  This is simple, meaningful police reform that is not controversial.”

“We are pleased that the Peace Officer Promise is being announced in May,” said Marcia Ferranto, Chief Executive Officer of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “This month we honor the officers who fulfilled the promise they made to their communities, including risking and ultimately giving their lives. It’s fitting that the Peace Officer Promise is being made now.”

The Peace Officer Promise gives law enforcement agencies a way to build trust and confidence by making a public reaffirmation of their ‘do no harm’ commitment. The Peace Officer Promise differs from the oath which law enforcement officers take about upholding the Constitution and protecting the public.  Instead, the Peace Officer Promise implicitly acknowledges the harm that some policing strategies can unintentionally inflict on the very communities the police are paid to protect. 

“The events of the last few years have made the delivery of public safety very challenging,” said Chief Michael Thompson of Arizona State University. “The Peace Officer Promise is a fantastic way for us to repair strained relationships and build new ones by creating a shared vision for policing that works for everyone.”

“This is about people, and the fact that only people count,” said Chief Tighe O’Meara of the Ashland, OR Police Department.   “We are looking to personalize The Peace Officer Promise with input from our own Ashland high school students”.

Police2Peace addresses community dissatisfaction with the police to create “Peace Officer” cultural change that is fundamental to police reform.  It is a trusted source of programs and policies for departments, municipalities and communities throughout the U.S. 

Learn more at The Peace Officer Promise.

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Police2Peace is an organization addressing the issue for our time: reimagining the relationship that communities have with the police. A national, nonpartisan nonprofit bringing a new approach to community-led policing to cities around the country, Police2Peace is using the framework of police officers as Peace Officers to redefine, reimagine and advance policing nationally.

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