MARFA, TEXAS—‘You volunteer everyday to run toward danger, to the sound of gunfire, when everyone else runs away from it."
So said Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent John J. Smietana, Jr. when he addressed a large crowd at the annual memorial observance at the National Border Patrol Museum in El Paso, Texas. The memorial was held on May 21, 2010.
That speech has since been published in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's February, 2012, edition of Law Enforcement Bulletin.
Smietana's speech was entitled "The Meaning and Honor of Service" and serves as a reminder to law enforcement officers of their responsibility to live by the oath of office they take and to honor the badge they wear.
"Where does the oath of office come from?" asks Smietana. "Well, the oath comes from Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution."
"Basically, it states that we will be bound by oath to support the Constitution."
He goes on to explain the origin of the oath and encourages law enforcement officers to "...think about that every day when you start your shift."
Smietana also asks the question "What is the meaning of the badge you wear?"
When he asks that question he normally gets a number of good answers, but the one he wants is "trust."
"Trust that those who wear the badge will have honor and integrity, that they will do their duty, that they will have courage and be willing to make that sacrifice.
"So, I ask all of you in law enforcement, every day when you get ready for your shift, whether on days, evenings, or night, when you look in the mirror and pin on that badge or put it in your pocket, stop and think, 'Am I going to earn the trust today? Will I live up to the legacy of those who have gone before me, who have laid down their lives to polish this badge?'"
The entire speech will be available at the FBI website.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.