Thoughts on Financial Disclosure Part 4 by Anonymous LAPD Officer

The Personal Cost of Financial Disclosure (Part 4)

The legendary German story of Faust tells us the tale of a man who, although successful, is sufficiently dissatisfied with his life to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Over time, the tale has become the symbol of an individual who surrenders his integrity to achieve success.

Think about how the parable of Faust applies to financial disclosure. The basis of law enforcement is integrity. You swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics when you were presented your badge of office. Whether you have two days or 20 years on the job, that oath holds you duty bound.

Today, you are being told that although you gave your word, you can’t be trusted. Ask yourself what is next. Will you be sworn in at 210 Temple, then asked to affirm your oath with a signature? Should police reports be notarized? Will sergeants be conducting follow-ups to radio calls to see what really happened?

This is not a question of “having nothing to hide.” This is, at its core, a slander against your character. A mere 200 years ago, you could legally kill a man for impugning your honor, and today impugning your honor is LAPD policy.

Have we “advanced” so much as a society that you feel no indignity at having your integrity called into question? The Department would have you believe that they have the market cornered on defining integrity and its application to law enforcement. Personal integrity is yours, and yours alone, to cherish and preserve.

Faust sold his soul and paid the price when his short life was over. They say in the end it’s the blink of an eye. When you allow yourself to be called a liar without consequence, you sell your soul, and no promotion or specialized unit is worth that.

A wise 30-year sergeant named William Driver once said, “What you accomplish on the job means nothing; no one will ever remember you for your rank or what units you worked. What really matters is how many people come to your retirement party.”

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