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Radio Remarks to the Annual Convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police

October 12, 1931

It is my privilege on behalf of the Government to greet the delegates to the 38th annual convention of the International Association of Police Chiefs meeting at St. Petersburg. I wish to add a cordial welcome to those delegates and guests who have come from beyond our shores.

In the United States a major responsibility rests upon the shoulders of our Chiefs of Police. Ours is a form of government where the task and responsibility of maintenance of organized society through its never-ending battle against crime rests upon each local community. The Chiefs of Police occupy a position of high command in that service. In not a few of our communities the police have been subject to criticism. That criticism arises from the exception and not the rule in police conduct. Moreover, there is a sentimentalism in some people which makes popular heroes out of criminals which needs replacement by a sentimentalism that makes a popular hero of the policeman for the courage and devotion he shows in protection of our citizens. Instead of the glorification of cowardly gangsters we need the glorification of policemen who do their duty and who give their lives in public protection.

The police perform an unending task, not alone in the mothering of the children on our streets and in the good humored dissolution of traffic jams, but in this incessant war against criminals. If the police had the vigilant, universal backing of public opinion in their communities, if they had the implacable support of the prosecuting authorities and the courts, if our criminal laws in their endeavor to protect the innocent did not furnish loopholes through which irresponsible, yet clever, criminal lawyers daily find devices of escape for the guilty, I am convinced that our police would stamp out the excessive crime and remove the worldwide disrepute which has disgraced some of our great cities.

The police by instinct are the enemies of gang activities, robberies, holdups, and ruthless murder. But so long as criminals can proceed with the smug assurance that they can defeat the law there is a constant discouragement to the police. I wonder at times that they maintain the vigilance and courage they do against the odds with which they have to contend.

I extend to you my cordial good wishes for a helpful convention. I know there will emerge from collective counsel at your meeting an increased skill and resourcefulness and deeper devotion in advancement of public welfare. I look forward confidently to the day when the moral forces of every community will rally to your support in the fight against crime everywhere.

Note: The President spoke at 12:45 p.m. from the Cabinet Room in the White House via radio to the association's 38th annual convention in St. Petersburg, Fla. The National Broadcasting Company and the Columbia Broadcasting System radio networks carried the remarks.

A reading copy of this item with holograph changes by the President is available for examination at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.

Herbert Hoover, Radio Remarks to the Annual Convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207911

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