January 11, 2021
The Rule of Law: A Message to Staff and Recruits
From: Executive Director Sue Rahr and Basic Training Commander Johnny Alexander
The January 6th assault on the United States Capitol has profound implications for every person who swears an oath to uphold the laws and constitution of the United States of America and the State of Washington. Frankly, it has profound implications for every person who recites the pledge of allegiance, “… to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We swear an oath, and we pledge allegiance to the republic – the system of governance that supports our democratic ideals. It is an imperfect system that sometimes creates unpopular outcomes. But it has sustained our great nation because of our collective allegiance to the rule of law – rather than to a single person or specific group. The founding fathers wisely understood the peril of granting unchecked power to individuals. Even though we won’t all agree on the substance of the law, we can agree on the process for creating the laws. More importantly, we must commit to abiding by the law – until it is changed through the process to which we are committed.
The rule of law is often messy, cumbersome, and sometimes creates results that some may feel are unfair or just plain wrong. When this happens, we must remain committed to the process for changing the law rather than rejecting it. Rejecting the process undermines the stability of our communities, our state and the nation.
Some of you are or have been peace officers and corrections officers and many of you will soon be sworn to uphold your oath of allegiance to the government of the people you serve. You are the most visible symbol of the enduring presence of the rule of law - the cornerstone of a civil society. More than any time in recent history, the public needs reassurance that our democracy will survive the divisive conflicts erupting around the nation. Our community needs to see its Guardians of Democracy standing strong and proud – upholding the rule of law and preserving the republic. Be of great courage and maintain the passion that inspired you to this profession. Our nation and the rest of the world is depending on each of you to do your part to preserve our nation’s democracy!