Weekly Letter: The Purpose of the Police

In our present time of confusion where “defunding the police” has become a question for debate, we are presenting a letter of the Rebbe written to a police officer upon his promotion. The Rebbe discusses the purpose of the police and also addresses briefly the question of the key to a peaceful and orderly society. This letter is from volume 5 of The Letter and The Spirit.

By the Grace of G-d
Erev Chanukah, 5732
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Old Beth Page, Long Island, N.Y.

Greeting and Blessing:

After not hearing from you for quite some time I was pleased to receive your letter, and to know that all is well with you and your family. I was particularly gratified to read the concluding lines of your letter about your efforts to advance in matters of Yiddishkeit, and also be an inspiration to all your family. May G-d grant that you should go from strength to strength, inasmuch as there is always room for improvement in matters of goodness and holiness, which are infinite being derived from the Infinite.

Subsequently, I also received the phone message about your promotion (to the rank of Sergeant) in the Police Department. May G-d grant that you should carry out your important and responsible duties in good health and with confidence and success. Together with the new duties goes also the privilege of being able to render public service, the merit of which will surely stand you in good stead

The merit of working with the Police Department consists mainly in the fact that its purpose is to promote law and order, and enable the members of the community to live the kind of life which is worthy of human living, in conditions of security and peace of mind. Ideally, the purpose of the Police Department is to concentrate on the good, and on crime prevention, rather than having to catch the culprits after the perpetration of a crime. The same is true of medical science. For, although when a person becomes sick, it is necessary to do everything possible to alleviate his pain and cure him, the ideal objective of medical science is preventive medicine, and to teach people to live their daily life in a way that would not necessitate their dependence upon medication and the like.

Similarly, it is to be hoped that the work of the Police Department could be largely dedicated to making and promoting the conditions which would be conducive to a peaceful and orderly life, in which the public institutions, especially the schools, both public and private, could carry on-their work without problems, and even the anti-social elements would recognize that crime does not pay.

The importance of the educational institutions cannot be overemphasized, and when a child receives his education and training under satisfactory conditions, he is bound to become a good citizen, a good American, and, if he is a Jew, a good Jew. For such is basically the nature of each and every child regardless of his background, as the wisest of all men said, “Train the youngster in the proper way; even when he grows older he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
At this time before Chanukah, I extend to you and all yours my prayerful wishes for a happy Chanukah, and for a growing measure of brightness, both materially and spiritually.

With blessing,

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