06 One of the Finest. By Armstrong, Le Roy

The moral status of the policeman is the moral status of the city he serves. Complain as you will of the scandalous conduct of this or that member. Mourn at the seeming general depravity of the men who wear the blue. They are yet a reflex of the people who employ them. When Cromwell ruled, officers were praying men. When Louis was king, they intrigued for mistresses. In America they travel on the average lines of intelligence, honesty and fidelity followed by the mass.

Policemen are men. They - unlike poets - are made, not born. What a man was in former life he is as a policeman. Putting on blue, thatching his poll with a helmet, filling his hand with a club or a revolver does not make him braver, of abler, or more honest than he was at the beginning. Also, it cannot make him worse. Remember in your sweeping condemnation the officers who stand indifferent to weather; who brave danger every time they help a child across the street; who invite mutilation every time they make an arrest; who are knit of the fibre of rectitude and strength, and who stand for the best that is in their employer. Remember, as there are heights of holiness, there are sinks of iniquity. Laving in these polluted waters are human brutes whose venomous hate is leveled at no one with such deadly purpose as at the officer. They delight in “slugging” him. They are the tigers of a city’s jungle. They rend without reason - only because they hate that typified Right. They would peril their life to injure it. They would give their life to obliterate it.

Between the Bad, who hate him upon one side, and the Good, who distrust him on the other, the life of “One of the Finest” is far from serene.

Dieses Kapitel ist Teil des Buches STREET TYPES GREAT AMERICAN CITIES