Protect and Serve ... Always


Circa January 2004, via e-mail—The public expects us to get criminals off the street. This statement may be true, but law enforcement officers have a much larger and more important duty: "TO PROTECT AND SERVE."

Our "jobs" are to make our streets as safe as possible, not the opposite.  

Our local critics said that if we quit chasing stolen cars that our numbers would skyrocket. But guess what? When we quit chasing stolen vehicles, our arrest and recovery rate went way up. Why? Because we thought "out of the box" and started the "auto trap" concept. No more chases, no more damaged cars, no more injuries, and no deaths! 

We do not pursue for stolen vehicles and yet our arrest numbers are up! Go figure. 

Unfortunately, it will take time to teach the "old dogs" new tricks and learn better ways to police. Law enforcement agencies across the United States need to answer one question:  Is it worth the lives and safety of our officers and citizens to chase traffic offenders?

Next, ask this question: What type of penalty will the offender face if caught?

I'm sorry, but every law enforcement CEO should put the safety of his/her community above the need to lock someone up. If their jurisdiction is like Florida, the arrested offender will probably be home before the officer completes his paperwork. My guess is that the CEOs who are fighting the changes in their pursuit policies have over 25 years in law enforcement experience and have lost sight of their purpose.

It will take time, but every law enforcement agency in the USA will eventually realize what we already know. WE can "think out of the box" and change the old ways of policing. 

Chief Steven H. Jones 
Office of the Sheriff
Orange County (Florida) Sheriff's Office
January 2004