Professional Demeanor Is Paramount

"Gallows humor" has been a part of every rough profession for centuries; maybe it's time we rethink that.


Sometimes, however, if we're not careful, the gallows humor crosses the line and becomes not only unprofessional but immoral. As public safety employees we must never allow ourselves to take any personal pleasure or see any humor in the suffering of anyone. That is most difficult when applied to criminals who have taken great delight in the suffering of others. As humans we enjoy seeing justice done and it's all too easy to perceive pain and suffering delivered to a violent criminal as justice for the pain and suffering they delivered on innocents. We must be careful, we must maintain in the forefront of our minds and bolstering our motivation the concept that justice is not ours to deliver; justice is ours to support. And should justice be visited upon a law breaker in a way that causes them suffering, it is unprofessional and immoral to take delight or pleasure in seeing the delivery of such no matter how much we believe they deserve it.

When we do cross that line - and we do sometimes because we are all human and fallible - we must remember that the public we serve is watching and they will respond with outrage at such actions. They don't understand us; they seldom understand what we do; they will never understand gallows humor and we should never expect them to tollerate unprofessional or immoral behavior. We have to be better than that. We have to be professional not only on-duty but also off-duty where our behavior and speech reflect upon our profession.

Think about it the next time you're going to make fun of a criminal who "got what was coming to him." Take faith in the fact that what goes around comes around and Karma's a b*tch - but we're wrong to take pleasure from the suffering caused by that.

It's just a thought, please share yours.

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