Conservator of the Peace

A definition of a Conservator of the Peace

It is hereby made the duty of the Police Force at all times of day and night, and the members of such Force are hereby thereunto empowered, to especially preserve the public peace, prevent crime, detect and arrest offenders, suppress riots, mobs and insurrections, disperse unlawful or dangerous assemblages, and assemblages which obstruct the free passage of public streets, sidewalks, parks and places.

–Manual Containing the Rules and Regulations of the Police Department of the City of New York (1887), RULE 414. Quoted in City of Chi. v. Morales, 527 U.S. 41, 108-109 (1999) Thomas, J., dissenting.

A real cowboy
     pistol at the ready,
     on duty and while he sleeps.

Walks around with Death hidden
     in a holster
     and appointed courage on a badge.

Listens to the wind whistle
     as eyes peer from the cover of darkness.

The final judge and judicator,
     the last image in the beast's eyes,
     the final searing pillar of Civility
     in the concrete jungle

Eternally observing between the
     walls of life,
     the walks of strife,
     the wallows heard unto knives--
          and until that knife is held next to
               a shivering chick,
          his heavy lips seldom speak.

_____

The conservator's sons watched their
     father from bedroom windows--
          in and out--
     and dreamed of justice, honor,
     duty and courage but the dark
     stain of Death rarely entered their
     heads but only a real cowboy vision
          wrapped around their beds.
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