Whatever happened to "Peace Officers?"

This is a discussion on Whatever happened to "Peace Officers?" within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; While some may view this as simple semantics, I sometimes wonder whatever happened to the term "peace officer" or "officer of the peace" when referring ...

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Whatever happened to "Peace Officers?"

    While some may view this as simple semantics, I sometimes wonder whatever happened to the term "peace officer" or "officer of the peace" when referring to police officers?

    Seems we have a preference for "law enforcement officer," often shortened to LEO. I've used the term myself. Problem is that the term "enforcement" carries a negative connotation. In contrast, a "peace officer" conveys "keeping the peace," which is not always the same thing as "enforcing the law."

    I guess "forcing" obedience to laws promotes an "us vs them" mentality, on both sides of the badge. Being a "peace" officer promotes more of a sense of being a part of the community, and of serving and protecting it.

    Like I said, maybe just semantics to some, but words do mean things IMHO.

    I'm going to make an effort to use the term "peace officer." Maybe, over time, it can spread and start to change some attitudes for the better.

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    Whether or not it spreads, I certainly like the thought! Indeed we have turned into an "us" vs. "them" country, in many ways beside that one.
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    Senior Member Array CWOUSCG's Avatar
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    Because they keep passing laws no one wants and they need to enforce them on the public?

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    VIP Member Array tdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    While some may view this as simple semantics, I sometimes wonder whatever happened to the term "peace officer" or "officer of the peace" when referring to police officer.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    I sometimes wonder whatever happened to the term "peace officer" or "officer of the peace" when referring to police officers?

    In contrast, a "peace officer" conveys "keeping the peace," ... a sense of being a part of the community, and of serving and protecting it.
    Wholeheartedly agree.

    Of course, "copper," "fuzz" and other less flattering terms have been used over the decades. A push back toward a "peace officer" name along with the focus could go a long way to reinserting police back into the communities in actuality as well as in perception.

    Just so long we don't start calling them "Bobbies," I'm sure they'll be good with the change.
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    Man 10th Mtn... Your preaching to the choir over here man.


    The term peace officer intimates a neutral person empowered by his community to help keep peace and order.

    A police officer is seen as sort of a government employee empowered by state to do the same and to assist in other community and personal matters, all working to the betterment of the extended community.

    A Law Enforcement Officer I see as an individual who is something of a state paid mercenary who holds no special interest in justice, the well being of the community or individuals, or natural order. His only interest is enforcing what ever law he's told to enforce, or what ever law he feels like enforcing without regard to any rules to protect individuals under his jurisdiction. His safety is paramount to ant constitutional guarente, local contitutions, local laws, or common sense. He will sea citizen challanging his authority, techniques, or interpetations as a violation of law.


    A peace officer is your neighbor. You can count on him, and he'll be counting on you.

    A police officer is someone who works in your neighborhood, knows most people in the neighborhood. Someone you can trust to make decisions in the best interest of justice. Someone who can be counted on when things go sideways to stand firm.

    A law enforcement officer is someone to fear. He owes no alliegence to anyone or anything other than the state. He's a stranger you dont want in your life if you can avoid it.

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    Member Array CCinaG26's Avatar
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    You are either a commissioned officer or you are not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    While some may view this as simple semantics, I sometimes wonder whatever happened to the term "peace officer" or "officer of the peace" when referring to police officers?

    Seems we have a preference for "law enforcement officer," often shortened to LEO. I've used the term myself. Problem is that the term "enforcement" carries a negative connotation. In contrast, a "peace officer" conveys "keeping the peace," which is not always the same thing as "enforcing the law."

    I guess "forcing" obedience to laws promotes an "us vs them" mentality, on both sides of the badge. Being a "peace" officer promotes more of a sense of being a part of the community, and of serving and protecting it.

    Like I said, maybe just semantics to some, but words do mean things IMHO.

    I'm going to make an effort to use the term "peace officer." Maybe, over time, it can spread and start to change some attitudes for the better.


    Maybe since we have such a passion for abbreviations and acronyms, "PO" for Peace Officer was too easily confused with "Parole Officer" and "Probation Officer" - ?

    On the good side, when I was a kid in the 50's it was OK for a cop to call another cop a cop, but out of respect you never called a cop a cop to his face. At least not where I grew up, in the northeast. The term no longer seems disrespectful.
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    Senior Member Array kb2wji's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWOUSCG View Post
    Because they keep passing laws no one wants and they need to enforce them on the public?
    I'm confused...
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShooterGranny View Post
    Whether or not it spreads, I certainly like the thought! Indeed we have turned into an "us" vs. "them" country, in many ways beside that one.
    This thread could be tricky for some of us to answer. So I will be walking on egg shells with my response.

    I met a Peace Officer in my own town 2 or 3 months ago. We had a nice chat for upwards of 20 minutes. I put out a couple feelers with this man and was pleasantly surprised at his answers and tone. If I were to compare him to another Peace Officer it would be to Andy Taylor from the old TV show Mayberry RFD.

    I've also come across more of the Barney Fife's in my life. If I were to never run across another ' 'Barney' in my lifetime that would suit me just fine.

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    Ex Member Array Longstreet's Avatar
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    People use terms they hear on TV, on radio, and in films. Back in the day, when our society had a respect for such things, the term Peace Officer was often heard in such media. These days? It's all about sensationalism, confrontation, and stirring any pot possible for $$$. In that environment, the term Peace Officer doesn't do much. Cop, Police, Law Enforcement Officer, is more useful.

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    Member Array mlk18's Avatar
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    As an LEO myself I prefer storm trooper, jack booted thug, nazi, pig and similar terms of endearment. But I am also okay with law enforcement officer, police officer, cop, patrolman, peace officer, etc. Getting caught up in terms and labels is the least of my concerns and does nothing to describe the job I do or the person I am. It's semantics for the sake of semantics.

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    I grew up in England and used to see police officers walking around town all the time. They where someone that you could talk to, ask for directions and were considered an upstanding member of society, someone you could turn to for help or assistance. Then government said police had to make money, they suddenly stopped walking the streets, they drove around in cars, they did NOT interact with the public, they just seemed to check cars for speeding and brought bad news to you, there is NEVER a positive interaction with a police officer today, they only cause you problems or bring you bad news.
    I would so love to go back to the times when I had respect for the police, I know they do a valuable job, but I just consider them another avenue of the government with the goal of getting more money out of the average motorist. I know this is a very scewed opinion, but after 50 years on this planet I have absolutely no desire to have any interaction with a police officer.. Its such a shame and its the government fault, not the police as the government is what has forced them to become what they are today. I miss the good old days, when common sense ruled and police where your friend.

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    The law establishing my current job calls us peace officers. My last job it was police officers. Pretty much the same tasks and responsibilities. From where I stand, it's mostly semantics.

    Institutional norms and mores are far more determinative of personnel behavior than a term in a law that might have been passed 50 years ago and never updated as the agency, community and/or responsibilities changed.
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    Senior Member Array CWOUSCG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chandlerusm View Post
    The law establishing my current job calls us peace officers. My last job it was police officers. Pretty much the same tasks and responsibilities. From where I stand, it's mostly semantics.

    Institutional norms and mores are far more determinative of personnel behavior than a term in a law that might have been passed 50 years ago and never updated as the agency, community and/or responsibilities changed.
    While that is true the connotations of the 2 terms are different and can/will cause different reactions.

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