The Official Motto of the Department
Established on November 9, 1880
"Semper Paratus, Semper Fideles, Ever on the Watch"
"EVER READY - EVER FAITHFUL"
"EVER ON THE WATCH"
A phrase couldn't have been better written to describe the Baltimore Police Department, and it's men and women.
In Latin the entire phrase would read "Semper Paratus - Semper Fideles - Semper Alapa Buris Pervigil"
“Semper Fideles” may sound familiar, and it should, it is used by the United States Marines, "Semper Fi". The question most often asked when I tell others of this exciting find is, “Who used it first?”, They used it at about the same time, Baltimore Police opened the gym/hall in 1880 - the sign was hung in 1886... so the motto was adopted sometime between 1880 and 1886... The U.S. Marines adopted it 1883, so we used it either 3 years before, or 3 years after... the Marines.
The truth of the matter is; It doesn't matter who used it first; all that matters is both the U.S. Marines, and the Baltimore Police have lived it, and lived up to it since before either have adopted the motto!
This Motto, is about, men and women, backing up men and women, to better protect the men and women of our country, and of our communities.
Semper Fidelis has served as a slogan for many families, and entities, in many countries, dated no earlier than the 16th century. Now said as often as "I Love You", but like "I Love You" it is a group of words that means more than most can fully understand; and some that say it, won't say it without deep thought, and an ever deeper meaning... for to say, I love you and not really mean it, isn't honorable, nor is it honorable to say, "Ever Faithful" i.e. Semper Fi... without the intent or true understanding of what it means to be, "Forever and Always Faithful" it is an Honor... something to be proud of, to take pride in, and like many military, and or paramilitary organizations, Brotherhood is at the heart of everything... and without it, there can be nothing to be Faithful to.
The United States Marine Corps adopted the motto Semper Fideles in 1883, on the initiative of Colonel Charles McCawley, the 8th Commandant of the Marine Corps. There were three mottos prior to "Semper Fideles" including "Fortitudine" (meaning "with courage") antedating the War of 1812, "Per Mare, Per Terram" (By Sea, By land; presumably inherited from the British Royal Marines, who used said motto previously), and, up until 1843, there was also the motto "To the Shores of Tripoli". "Semper Fideles" signifies the dedication and loyalty that individual Marines have for "Corps and Country", even after leaving service. Marines frequently shorten the motto to "Semper Fi"
Semper Fideles can be traced back as far as the 17th century. The first unit that used the motto was the Irish Brigade (France), raised in 1691 under the terms of the Treaty of Limerick, which ended the war between King James II and King William III in Ireland. As the Irish army in exile, they served as part of the French army with the motto “Semper et ubique Fideles” (Always and Everywhere Faithful) in reference to their fidelity to the Catholic faith, King James II and their allies the Kings of France. Comprising five regiments, Walsh’s regiment is noted for aiding the American cause in the American Revolution when they were assigned as Marines to John Paul Jones’s Bonhomme Richard.
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