A Law Enforcement Officer’s Oath of Office Dilemma


“I, (STATE YOUR NAME________), do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties the office of the (INSERT AGENCY HERE) to the best of my skill and judgment, SO HELP ME GOD.”

How many of us have taken this or a similar oath?  I would dare say anyone who has ever worn a badge or shield upon their chest. Examining the oath, we see that we are swearing before the Divine (God), and the State (government), that we will support or uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State.  I would assert at this time that if when one took the oath and didn’t fully intend to adhere to that oath, then they are disingenuous and have no place being a law enforcement officer.

 There comes a time, and maybe more specifically, there will come a time, in which a law enforcement officer must remember what he or she swore to when taking this oath.  Remember that order is everything, and by that, I mean the U.S. Constitution comes first, then State Constitution. Everything else is subordinate.

cops can smell crime
LAPD gang investigator. (Photo courtesy Chris Yarzab)

A law enforcement officer’s oath of office dilemma is this: “Do I enforce a law that is in opposition to the United States Constitution?”  In the current climate we see that law enforcement officers may have to face this dilemma.  I urge you to read about the Constitution, the powers delegated to Congress by the Constitution, the applicable laws passed by Congress and Supreme Court case law. I ask you to be introspective on how you will deal with this dilemma, all while taking into account what you swore before God and Country.

Written by David D. Hudson

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