A Policeman is a composite of what all men are, the mingling of a saint and sinner, dust and deity.

Gulled statistics wave the fan over the stinkers, underscore instances of dishonesty and brutality because they are “new”. What they really mean is that they are exceptional, unusual, not commonplace.

Buried under the frost is the fact: Less than one-half of one percent of policemen misfit the uniform. That’s a better average than you’d find among clergy!

What is a policeman made of? He, of all men, is once the most needed and the most unwanted. He’s a strangely nameless creature who is “sir” to his face and “fuzz” to his back.

He must be such a diplomat that he can settle differences between individuals so that each will think he won. But…If the policeman is neat, he’s conceited; if he’s careless, he’s a bum. If he’s pleasant, he’s flirting; if not, he’s a grouch.

He must make an instant decision which would require months for a lawyer to make.

But…If he hurries, he’s careless; if he’s deliberate, he’s lazy. He must be first to an accident and infallible with his diagnosis. He must be able to start breathing, stop bleeding, tie splints and, above all, be sure the victim goes home without a limp. Or expect to be sued.

The police officer must know every gun, draw on the run, and hit where it doesn’t hurt. He must be able to whip two men twice his size and half his age without damaging his uniform and without being “brutal”. If you hit him, he’s a coward. If he hits you, he’s a bully.

A policeman must know everything-and not tell. He must know where all the sin is and not partake.

A policeman must, from a single strand of hair, be able to describe the crime, the weapon, and the criminal- and tell you where the criminal is hiding.

But…If he catches the criminal, he’s lucky; if he doesn’t, he’s a dunce. If he gets promoted, he has political pull; if he doesn’t, he’s a dullard. The policeman must chase a bum lead to a dead-end, stake out ten nights to tag one witness who saw it happen but refused to remember.

The policeman must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy, and a gentleman.

And, of course, he’d have to be genius….For he will have to feed a family on a policeman’s salary.

*transcribed and shared from https://murphysamandjodi.com/paul-harveys-policeman 

4 responses to “PAUL HARVEY’S “POLICEMAN”

Posted by Neil Simpson

Without the Policeman our society and daily life as we know it would not exist. So to all
the officers who protect us, keep us safe and expose themselves to daily & actual danger,
many thanks, may God Bless you and keep you safe.

Posted on February 26, 2023 at 9:30 AM

Posted by Linda Bartz

I am married to a retired police officer. I must say no truer words were ever spoken. Thank you Paul Harvey

Posted on February 17, 2023 at 9:26 AM

Posted by Phillip Stearns

Before I became a civilian police officer in 1977, I was a Law Enforcement Specialist in the USAF for 5 years. Upon serving my time I was fortunate to get hired as a police officer in my hometown near Chicago. I left the civilian police world, reluctantly, after 15 yrs at the encouragement from my wife I left to pursue private sector investigations/security with a large national trucking company. This work brought peace of mind to my wife as it was better in most regards: pay, benefits, hours, and safety. I understood her feelings/fears so I agreed. However, for me it was not nearly as fulfilling or rewarding. After hearing this from Paul Harvey when he originally aired it, I obtained the written transcription of it and had it stenciled onto a plaque. As true and meaningful today as it was “back in the day”. I Pray often for all Law Enforcement Officers all over this country, for their safety and their families. Obviously they don’t do it for the money – its the personal rewards.

Posted on October 14, 2022 at 11:33 AM

Posted by Andre Robert Perrault

Thank you for keeping this available. I am both a retired military policeman and a current LEO. Paul Harvey got it so right and so clear and concise.

Posted on June 4, 2022 at 11:09 PM

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