LEO, good judgement vs the law??


October 24, 2003, 12:33 PM
The law is the law.. But I never believed that.. I find that the law cannot supercede humanity and basic guidelines..

I'm watching on the news and the comment from a police on the news made me cringe and think to myself "These are the ones sworn to protect us? They are the ones most think should be the only ones that own guns??"

:cuss: :banghead:


The story:

A apartment goes up in flames.. 4 dead, a young mother and her sons..
The next of kin, the grandmother is called, and she drives wrecklessly to the scene where she bursts into tears..

A cop they interviewed said "Err.. She's actually double parked, I am suppose to give her a ticket, I might get fired for not giving her one."


I'm sorry.. If my daughter and 3 grandkids just died, the least I'd worry about is double parking. And as far as usefulness.. Talk about someone who is wasting oxygen.. :cuss: :fire: :banghead:

When did human compassion get thrown out the window??

If you enjoyed reading about "LEO, good judgement vs the law??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
rock jock
October 24, 2003, 12:39 PM
No LEO or soldier should feel compeled to do anything that is immoral or inhumane.

October 24, 2003, 12:43 PM
This is a direct result of PC (Political Correctness). It use to be once upon a time that cops had "discression", they could decide to cite or not to cite based on circumstance.
The problem with that is people. People whine "Well so and so didn't get cited and did the same thing as me"...
This causes complaints, investigations, media frenzy, etc.
The result: "Equal Justice", "Black & White". If you write one person for this, you better write them all.
Not right in my view, but a predictable result. :(

October 24, 2003, 12:53 PM
Right on the money, TBO.

October 24, 2003, 01:07 PM
Thats why I am no longer a LEO, besides the low pay :)

October 24, 2003, 06:02 PM

you nailed it.. "Discression" has turned into "racism" if you do soemthing for one and not the other..

What worries me is this is the norm and not the exception..

What worries me even more is, people with guns clipped to their belts need superior discressionary skills, which they all lack now..

Jeff White
October 24, 2003, 06:23 PM
There are ways to use discretion. I have never written in the speed on a written warning ticket I issued for speeding. I don't want some hotdog lawyer to subpeona all my contacts and start asking why a ticket was issued to this person for so much over the limit and another person received a warning.

In the example you gave, I would have asked permission and either moved the grandmother's car myself or had someone else do it.

Last night at the beginning of the shift a complaint was received of an underage driver in a neighborhood here. Investigation revealed that a 15 year old girl had taken her father's company car on a joyride around the neighborhood. She wasn't a very good driver her first time out, she hit the mailbox and damaged the garage door. By following the law exactly, she should have been issued a citation. However here in Illinois, that would mean that she wouldn't be allowed to get her drivers license until her 18th birthday. It was decided that since no damage was done to anything but the mailbox and garage, and her parents (they were gone at the time she took her ride) seemed perfectly willing to handle the matter in house, she was only given a stern talk and reminded that she lived in a small town, and all the officers would be watching for her to be out driving again.

There are however some situations where you can't use any discretion. Mandatory insurance....If you stop a driver for another violation and they don't have their proof of insurance on them, you write the ticket anyway. Let them take the proof up to the courthouse and have the ticket dismissed. Because if they don't actually have insurance and you let them go, and they do get into an accident, guess who will be held liable in the inevitable civil suit?

Then there are the PC crimes. The state police lost all discretion on the issuing of seatbelt tickets by general order from the director.

I am going to have to disagree that there is no latitude anymore. Somethings in some agencies, yes. But by and large an officer still has a lot of discretion. And that's just the way things should be. Our enlightened lawmakers could not possibly write a law that would apply in every given situation, so there is discretion built into the system at every level from the metermaid to the supreme court.


Standing Wolf
October 24, 2003, 09:18 PM
I doubt it's possible to exercise discretion without common sense, which, unfortunately, has been in short supply quite awhile.

October 25, 2003, 03:43 AM
it is not a problem of acting immoral, but of not being ethical

LE by definition is a moral profession...enforcing the laws of soceity. doing the "rught " thing, as opposed to the "correct" thing is an ethical decision. the awareness of liability has suppressed ethicsand replaced it with morality

Bill Hook
October 25, 2003, 03:52 AM
Discresion is a subset of common sense, which seems to be in short supply in almost ANY profession.

October 25, 2003, 04:27 AM
Just the natural progression of things,

Day & Night,

Hard & Soft,

Good & Evil,

Left & Right,

Crime & Punishment,

Hot & Cold,

Black & White,

Young & Old,

Law & Order,


Steve in PA
October 25, 2003, 10:46 AM
If that storys is true..............someone needs to talk with that boy.

October 25, 2003, 01:02 PM
In a situation similar to Jeff White's, I was out serving civil papers and watched an oncoming car drift off the road and hit a raised curb. The curb caused both tires on that side to blow out and ruined the wheels. I stopped and found out that the young lady who was driving only had a learner's permit, had no adult supervisory driver with her, and had run off the road because she was tending to her baby. She was driving her boyfriend's car.

Figuring that she had caused enough damage to her pride and her boyfriend's car, I just called her boyfriend and her father and asked them to come retrieve her and the car. While we were waiting for them, I had a talk with the young lady about all the terrible things that could have happened.


October 25, 2003, 08:02 PM
Officer, is it within in your discretion to let me off with a warning? Who knows… it could work.

If you enjoyed reading about "LEO, good judgement vs the law??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!