The John Carman Report

Policy of Truth

Ever since I was about eight years old, I remember telling a teacher a lie at school. I didn't realize it but it was a major turning point for me. I don't even remember what the lie was about, but the Principal made a very big issue of it. She even called my mother and confronted me at the principal's office. I was scared and I knew I had made a mistake. I remember the feeling of embarrassment and shame, and I was all "alone". It was me and nobody else. It was at this point that I tried my best to start all over and do my best to be honest with everyone and everyone would again look up to me.

When I was younger, I admired firemen and I wanted to be one when I got older. Eventually, I changed my mind and I made up my mind at a very early age that I really wanted to be a Police Officer. I wanted to help innocent people and catch serious criminals. I knew from an early age that there were different kinds of people in the world. I witnessed this when I was about seven years old or younger. I intervened in "disputes" and further prevented acts of violence on small children by "older" and "bigger" kids. I even stopped a group of kids that were slapping a baby in a carriage, that was temporarily "abandoned" by the mother in a "military" housing project. I could remember the feeling that I had to do "something", no matter what the risk was to myself, to prevent the assault of an innocent baby. Later, I even saved my own younger sister's life by jumping into the driver's side open window to apply the emergency brake in order to prevent the car from rolling into the "oncoming" traffic that was less than 50 yards away. My younger sister was playing with the car and put the car into neutral and the car started coasting. She was about 7 years old at the time. I was about 10 years of age.

Early on, I learned responsibility because I had to depend on myself a lot of the time while my dad was "over seas" on Military duty back in the late 50's and later on. I learned to look after others and to help children and adults in everything I did. I use to open doors for women and older folks when I went to the supermarket with my Mom. I was complimented for doing good, so I responded even more. I guess that's when I learned that "positive reinforcement" was a very big incentive for me when I was very young.

When I was in school, I got good citizenship awards and I got very good grades. I was a little hyper because I was bored and I had to constantly have something to do or to keep busy. I guess that's when I got into sports when I was old enough. I was very good at sports and I found something to compete with and to "hone" my physical and mental skills. I became very proficient in "all" sports and I quickly found out that there wasn't anything that I couldn't do. (Except math, I hated math. I still do.)

I respected all Teachers and especially Policeman. I wanted even more to be able to help people in a way that would most benefit society. Being a Police Officer, or in Law Enforcement seemed to be the best way to help the most people when they really needed it. I never really wanted to be in the military like my dad, because I couldn't see letting someone else decide what I was to do, when I knew better. I was also the victim of three older kids when I was beat up a little when I was about 8 years at the school yard on a Saturday. There was no place for me to go. So I learned that you have to face the odds no matter what and never run. I learned very early that I had to be able to defend myself. I learned to defend myself quickly and I started martial arts and learned some boxing from my dad when I was about 10 years old. My dad boxed while in the U.S. Navy.

I was very involved into Martial Arts when I was in Japan and I earned a Black Belt in Judo before I was 18. During my highschool years I lived in Japan and I learned other martial arts like Karate, Aikido and Kempo while I learned a special kind of self discipline. There is nothing you can compare to when you see what the Japanese Policemen can accomplish without a gun. Guns are banned and illegal except for Law Enforcement and the Military in Japan. They are all required to "earn" a first degree Black Belt before they can graduate their Police Academy after about nine or twelve months. They have the longest Police Academy of any other law enforcement agency that I ever knew of back in the early 70's. Compared to Japanese law enforcement, we have more acts of violence and assaults against our own Law Enforcement than any other country.

The Japanese are also very serious about "Honor" and "Truth". They follow the "Bushido Code" or the "Path of the Warrior" or the "Way of The Samurai". A large percentage of the Japanese are also Buddhists and they tend to respect life and the rights of other more differently than some other cultures. The Samurai were also the "defenders" of the "innocent" and were like the "policemen" of early Feudal times. If you could have all American law enforcement officers trained in the Japanese culture or experience other foreign cultures, our law enforcement personnel may learn more about Honor and I think there would be less problems with "corruption". I would gladly exchange any experienced Japanese law enforcement officer for ten of everyone of ours. Their methods of law enforcement can teach a lot to American Officers and Law Enforcement. They also don't take any "stuff" from the "bad guys". They place a lot of importance on "Tradition", "Honor" and "Family". If they ever anticipated "Failure", they would rather fight unbearable odds or face death. They are taught to do what is right and they are "perfectionists" at it too. You may have to practice a technique thousands of times before you can get it correct. But, once you learn it, you never forget it.

I think that when I finally went into law enforcement in the early 70's, after I graduated college with a couple of law enforcement degrees, I had great expectations of working with others who had the same or similar desires I had. This was not the case however. I learned quickly that there were a lot of people that just happened to be in law enforcement, or that they had no sincere beliefs or obligation to what they were doing. They were just collecting a "paycheck" and they could care less, one way or the other. Some law enforcement types that I saw didn't give a damn about their partners or what the needs of the community was. They were always in doubt and would never do the right thing when it counts. There were also those that would "hesitate" and cause others to get hurt or injured. They truly didn't know what to do and they had no distinct morals or proper judgement and would only "follow" others in their peer group if it suited them.

I saw a different type of Law Enforcement Officer or Agent developing over the years and it was pretty unsettling to say the least. Of all the law enforcement, the Narcotics Enforcement Officers/Agents were suppose to be the "elite" or "cream of the crop". They weren't! With time, I could see that all levels of law enforcement had it's problems. To some, telling the truth and lying were the same thing. It all depended on who you talked to. If it was convenient to lie, then they lied. If it wasn't, then they might tell the truth, if it didn't hurt too much. It all depended on who's "Policy of Truth" you were to follow. If you followed the policy of the majority of law enforcement, you told the truth when it benefited you and the department. If you lied to protect yourself or to get promoted, then you lied. I have seen others "twist" the truth to benefit themselves, even in court. I have seen where a few Customs Inspectors got promoted to Supervisor for their ability to lie, instead of telling the truth. It seems that the numbers have switched and the "honest cop" is a rare breed.

There is obviously a "double standard" and it gives us all the wrong message when it's important to tell the truth when others tell lies "on the job".

Sometimes, I question myself and I wonder and I evaluate what would have happened if I chose to take that "other" path. Would I have done things differently? The answer is "NO"! I think about it, and I always choose to tell the truth and never to deviate from it when it comes to my Law Enforcement profession. I studied a lot and I trained very hard to be in law enforcement rather tahn risk tossing it all away. Nobody is worth that!

Once you deviate from telling the truth, then it may become easier for you to lie and it will cause you serious problems later in life. Remember, it is not an easy path to follow, but when you lie, you only damage yourself and your spirit. It is harder to lie because you have to remember what "story" you told someone the last time. When you finally "trip up", you will take a hard fall. It will not feel good, no matter how much money was involved. I would rather do what I have done with "Honor" than to prosper by telling lies and believing it's O.K. to lie, cheat or steal. You will lose your self respect when that happens, and then your life will be meaningless. I would rather fight hard against impossible odds, knowing I tried rather than giving up.

I know of some Customs Supervisors and upper Treasury management that have benefited from lying and they will eventually get caught. It's not a matter of how, but when.

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