When I first joined the Los Angeles Police Department, we had a motto for our police academy: “To Protect and To Serve.”  That really said a whole lot in a few words.  I recall in 1963, they placed that motto on our police cars.  No other police departments had that on their cars, but in recent years, many departments have a similar motto. They all seem to get as close to our motto as they can without outright copying it. Apparently that motto is copy protected  because others aren’t allowed to duplicate it on their cars or they surely would. 
I checked and found some listing of police department mottos that come close to LAPD’s:  “We Serve and Protect”, “Proud to Serve”, “Ready to Protect Proud to Serve", “To Protect With Integrity”, “Safety and Service”, and "To Protect with Courage”.  I checked the official Los Angeles Police Department website and found the origin of the motto: “To Protect and To Serve”:
In February 1955, the Los Angeles Police Department, through the pages of the internally produced BEAT magazine, conducted a contest for a motto for the police academy. The conditions of the contest stated that: "The motto should be one that in a few words would express some or all the ideals to which the Los Angeles police service is dedicated. It is possible that the winning motto might someday be adopted as the official motto of the Department."
The winning entry was the motto, "To Protect and to Serve" submitted by Officer Joseph S. Dorobek.  "To Protect and to Serve" became the official motto of the Police Academy, and it was kept constantly before the officers in training as the aim and purpose of their profession. With the passing of time, the motto received wider exposure and acceptance throughout the department.  On November 4, 1963, the Los Angeles City Council passed the necessary ordinance and the credo has now been placed alongside the City Seal on the Department’s patrol cars.
The copying of L.A. Police Department motto by other departments reminded me much about the way modern day Christianity have imitated the church that Christ established during his personal ministry on the shores of Galilee. They seem to want to get as close to the truth without actually embracing the truth and doctrines.  Although Jesus didn’t name His church as “Baptist” when He established it, the church later became identified as “Ana-Baptist” because of their doctrines. When the “Ana” was dropped, the church became known as “Baptist” identified by the doctrines.  Later, as other men began substitute teaching their own ideas, their followers were identified by the name of the founder.  Much like the LAPD motto, they still wanted to be identified as the church that Jesus established, but didn’t want to be identified by His teachings.  So they disregarded Jesus’s original motto, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (JOHN 14:6), and made up their own motto. They wanted to get away from the narrow way of the truth, but fashioned their motto to sound as close to the Jesus’s motto, “...No one cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (JOHN 14:6), without appearing narrow-minded. Just as the imitators of the LAPD motto is close, but just doesn’t cut it. And neither do the imitators of Jesus’s motto.  They just don’t “cut it” either.
Jesse R. Spurlock
Pastor Emeritus
Highland Park Baptist Church


305 W. Jarman Dr.,

Midwest City, OK 73110

(405) 830-3940

e-mail: jesse.spurlock@cox.net