What Is a Police Officer’s Oath of Office?

While each state has different requirements and oaths, the City of Nichols Hills, Oklahoma, provides a copy of the police officer’s oath of office committing the officer to uphold both state and federal law. It emphasizes the officer’s duties and responsibilities as well as making explicit the badge’s symbolism.

The oath of office separates raw recruits from police officers, states the Utah State Trooper Magazine. Its existence recognizes the responsibility placed on graduated recruits to exercise police powers responsibly and ethically. Wording and length vary between states, but each oath of office affirms the police officer’s duty to uphold the state Constitution and the United States Constitution as well as perform the job with fidelity.

The oath of office may also refer to the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor. Described by the International Association of Chiefs of Police as an affirmation of an officer’s ethical standards, it pledges a police officer to act morally. It can be modified to reflect a nation’s governing system and other appropriate terminology. Its brevity is intentional, allowing for the oath of honor to be repeated for civilians and during ceremonies or mentioned during conversations. Academy recruits are given the oath of honor on the back of their name cards and must sign a copy before they graduate. However, while recommended, the oath of honor is not required for all agencies.