For community, country and family. Overwhelmingly, officers told us those were the top three reasons why they wear the badge every day. At the IACP Annual Conference in San Diego in October, our booth started with a blank blackboard and a simple prompt, “Why I Wear the Badge”. The response was overwhelming as the blank board quickly filled to capacity with thoughtful and heartfelt first-person accounts from officers across the globe.

    Lee Smith of the Byron, Georgia Police Department wrote, “To serve my community and be a catalyst for positive change.”  Larry Cope of the Vancouver (Canada) Police Department wears the badge “to help those less fortunate.”

    Mike Meyers of Peachtree City, Georgia, is an officer  who wears the badge “to shape a world I want my children to live in.” While Chief Bernadette DiPino of Sarasota, Florida, puts on the uniform for “family history – five generations of honor and love of community.”

    While not surprising to see all the selfless reasons for serving, it was nonetheless moving to see so many messages of pride on one large blackboard. We know the sacrifices that officers make every day. We know the dedication and hard work that wearing the badge entails. Unfortunately, they are not always appreciated and recognized.

    We know that behind every badge is a story.  It is a story that moved a person to serve and protect others. We thank those who attended IACP for sharing your reasons for wearing the badge and hope you will take some time to read their profound thoughts and feelings.