Police Chief Delmore writes article about the relationship between police and the public

"The most dangerous animal isn't a wolf in sheep's clothing" - an article by Chief Edward Delmore

The Annie Frey Show
June 01, 2020 - 12:22 pm



By: Chief Edward Delmore


I became a police officer to catch bad guys. To protect good people from those predators that would do those good people harm. My close friends in this job - those I respect and look up to - became police officers for the same reason. In fact, most of us – the absolutely overwhelming majority of us - feel the same way. We act accordingly.

Unfortunately, there are a few, very few, that slip through the cracks, get into our ranks, and do not feel and act the same way we do.

I’ve had the honor of speaking at several of the same Federal Law Enforcement Conferences as Lt. Col. (RET) Dave Grossman.

Like many attending his seminars, his words recalling a conversation with an old soldier on sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs hit home with me.

It makes sense that we revisit those words now:

“…most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from predators.

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence and a deep love for your fellow citizens?

What do you have then?

A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial - that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that it is evil in the world.

They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms, and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.

But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog.

He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."

Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.”

But now in light of recent events, I’ll expand on the Colonel’s message.

Here’s the thing:

Not all criminal suspects we arrest are wolves.

Many are.

But many more are not.

The sheepdogs in our profession have to protect the sheep. But we also have a sworn duty to protect those in our custody even if they are wolves.

We are sworn to stay within the law regarding the use of force. To protect even those resisting our lawful actions. To stop using reasonable force immediately – once a resisting suspect is under control.

We’re sworn to make sure our fellow sheepdogs do the same. To step in and stop them if they don’t.

To make sure that those not suited to be sheepdogs are never again allowed to have that tremendous authority we are given.


Because the most dangerous animal in the world isn’t a wolf.

And it isn’t a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

The most dangerous animal in the world is a wolf in sheepdog’s clothing.