Standard Police Motto
The Los Angeles Police Department's famous motto, "to protect and to serve" (coined in 1955), has been adopted by many other police departments across the English-speaking world, sometimes in its alternate form "to serve and protect." It's been adopted by so many police departments, in fact, that it's practically a Stock Phrase in the English-speaking world. Unsurprisingly, it shows up a lot in fiction as well. Played straight in most Police Procedurals and Cop Shows, it's routinely subverted, lampshaded, and/or otherwise played with in other media.
Played straight in:
- The Casseline Brotherhood, in Kushiel's Legacy, say this a lot.
Live Action TV
- In the "Sleeping Beauty" episode of the ALF Tales cartoon, it is said of the Three Nice Wizards (led by wizard Joe Froday) by the King: "They protect and serve."
- ReBoot: "My format: Guardian - To mend and defend."
- The motto comes up as a point of discussion between Goliath and Eliza during the Gargoyles pilot, during their first meeting. Probably goes a long way towards building the trust between them.
Subverted, parodied, lampshaded, etc., in
- Shows up several times in the Discworld series:
- The Ankh Morpork Watch has the motto "Fabricati Diem, Pvnc", which is Dog Latin for "Make My Day, Punk". In-story, Fred Colon claims that it translates as "To Protect and Serve". The full motto is in fact "Fabricati Diem, Pvncti Agvnt Celeriter," but has been rendered partially unreadable over time. This supposedly means "Make the Day, the Moments Pass Quickly."
- Pratchett also uses it in Guards Guards with the prophecy that Carrot fulfills: "Yea, the king will come ... and Protect and Serve the People with his Sword."
- In Feet of Clay, the motto on the Vimes family arms (defunct since Old Stoneface killed the last king) is "Protego Et Servio". The Vimeses have been watchmen for a long time.
- The same book has the golem watchman give his own spin on the RoboCop example above: "To Serve The Public Trust, Protect The Innocent, And Seriously Prod Buttock".
- In the Myth Adventures, Asprin uses this for one of his chapter-beginning quotes: "To Serve and Protect. Traditional motto of protection rackets."
Live Action TV
- Mathnet's motto is "To cogitate and to solve."
- In Corner Gas, Karen and Davis have a long, drawn-out argument over whether or not their cop car says "To Protect and Serve" or "To Serve and Protect."
- They also decide to change it at one point, because Karen feels the standard motto is too common.
- At least partially in a Babylon 5 episode where organic tech gets loose creating a warrior who shouts "Protect" before he blows large holes in people and the station.
- A police officer in Destroy All Humans! can sometimes be heard constantly repeating this to themselves if their mind is read. Until they get it wrong: "swerve and defect...dammit, I lost it!"
- In The Longest Journey, the same cop that gave us Move Along, Nothing to See Here and Sorry, I'm Gay lines, also finished his conversation with "We are here to protect and to serve", right after proving as useless and outright obstructive to the heroine as he possible could.
- In the Grand Theft Auto, the motto of the Los Santos Police Department appears to be "Obey & Survive".
- In The Simpsons, an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon shows shows Scratchy entering a police car that turns out to be driven by Itchy. The motto it "To Protect and Sever". Bloody carnage ensues.
- South Park: The side of Officer Barbrady's patrol car has "To Patronize and Annoy" on it.
- The tagline of Science Court was "To Serve and Observe", even though it wasn't about a police department.