I’d like to close this evening by doing something that to the best of my
knowledge has never been done at a retirees get together like this and to do
that I need your indulgence and your help.
Would those of you who are carrying retirement badges pretend for a moment
that the Highway Patrol has just stopped you for speeding and you’re going to
try to impress him or her with your years of law enforcement service. Please---
take your badge out and just rest it on the table where you and everyone else
can see it. I promise this won’t hurt or embarrass you, as a matter of fact I
think you may like what follows.
Each of us who has worn this badge shares in a legacy that is not well
understood by others outside of law enforcement. Many folks can’t quite
comprehend that this badge brings a bond that is very special and unique. The
concept of a law enforcement family is, unfortunately, foreign to them.
Twenty years ago Jerry Conklin and I wrote something about the badge that
you see before you and we tried to capture its meaning for those who had the
privilege to wear it, The words we wrote came from our hearts. I’ve rewritten
that message as a tribute to each of you and for all honorably Retired Los
Angeles County Deputy Sheriff’s. Tonight, as you look at that badge I’m going
to read those words as a reminder about the commitment you made while you
wore the badge in days gone by:
It’s a Badge of Honor and you wore it Proudly.
It’s a symbol of Trust, of Service and of Honor.
Many would like to wear. Only a few can.
A few very special people. And you, you were one of them.
Some of us have paid heavily for wearing the badge. And in those quiet and
thoughtful moments, perhaps as you stand before the granite wall of names at
the Sheriff’s Academy, you remember them. Wearing it has changed you.
You’ve seen some things that are best forgotten, but will always, always be
You’ve fought the cynicism, the anger the disillusionment and yes, even the
tears and perhaps you found it difficult to distinguish between them.
You’ve known the good times too. You served then, as you remember now.
It was a challenge. There were the big moments. The wins. The really good
people. The great experiences. Today, you are a part of a tradition. The
Badge of Honor. The right to wear it was rooted in more than an oath; it was
earned everyday by you, by all of us. Trust, Service, Honor.
You wore the Badge with Pride. And tonight I offer these words to each of
you as a personal tribute and sincere thanks for helping to make the Los
Angeles County Sheriff’s Department truly a world leader in law enforcement.