Monday, July 18, 2016

What It Means To Be a Policeman by Paul Harvey

Legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey was born Paul Harvey Aurandt (1918-2009). He was the son of an Oklahoma police officer who was shot and killed when Paul was only two years old.  Paul shortened his name to simply “Paul Harvey” for his three quarters of a century on the radio.

Paul Harvey’s dad and a police detective were off duty and had been rabbit hunting in the woods outside Tulsa when three would-be robbers shot them while sitting in their car.  Despite wounds in his lung, leg and liver, Paul’s dad…Officer Aurandt…drove a mile to a farmhouse seeking help…and died two days later.

Paul Harvey never really knew his dad…but knowing what had happened, having the benefit of a strong surviving family unit and an inherited work ethic, and probably because of the times and atmosphere in which he grew up…Paul had an abiding and deep rooted respect for “law and order”…and he broadcast its values to the world until he died at age 90.

On one of his broadcasts back in 1970, when there was rising concerns about crime and violence, Paul Harvey told of how his generation saw and treasured law enforcement officers…by appropriately, respectfully telling the story…”What Is A Policeman”.  In honor of and appreciation for all those who serve us uniform, even giving up their lives for our sake, we share the text and video clip of Paul Harvey's 1970 broadcast with you below:

“What are policemen made of? A policeman is a composite of what all men are, 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 1 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’ (or worse) 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 a 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 get 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 10 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 a genius — for he will have to feed a family on a policeman’s salary.”


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