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Discretion of Police in Traffic Stops Report

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Updated: Apr 19th, 2022

Police officers are employees of the state to enforce and maintain law and order. They serve the communities where the police department has posted them. The traffic police have to ensure that the road users adhere to the traffic rules. The paper would discuss the ethical issues that a criminal justice professional might encounter.

Overview of the Situation

The officers of the law must uphold the highest standard of conduct. They are the official representatives of the government and should work within the law. Their primary duty of maintaining law and order includes safeguarding lives and property, protection, and observing the rights of all to liberty, justice and equality (Pollock, 2012).

The Ethical Issue

Job is a traffic officer who has not been taking his work seriously this week. On two occasions he has allowed a junior student to drive past the stop he supervises without a driver’s license. The minor’s parents had called the police station for information about their son. He had stormed out of their home after an argument with the parents. He stole the car keys plus some money and sped off. The 14-year-old minor had bribed Job at the traffic stop.

According to the law, Job was supposed to stop the car and take the minor into custody. He should have alerted his superiors about the incident immediately. The police should then have called the parents to inform them of the incident and charge the boy for disobeying the law (Pollock, 2012).

Their Choices and Reasons

The boy said that he gave Job $50 when he passed the first time and $100 when he returned from his hideout. The officer accepted the bribe when he thought that no one was watching. He even advised the boy not to cross the next stop but to use another diversion.

They young man did not want his parents to know where he was going. The traffic police officer cooperated with boy in breaking the law. Even when the parents reported the matter, Job had first denied ever seeing the boy. Their motives were for self-preservations.

They thought they would escape from the law. The officer was undermining his duty to protect lives, keep the law and be honest at all times (Pollock, 2012). The police department charged the boy with the traffic offence while the traffic officer lost his job. The minor’s parents had to take responsibility for paying the fines while Job had to go to prison.

Consequences

People would begin to see the police department agency as corrupt. One serious incident like this could destroy the image of the police force. Parents would not feel safe at home if their children went out. The community would view the boy’s family as lacking good morals.

The community might begin to push for more stringent laws to curb such actions. Some people with ill intentions might also use such means to pay their way out of crime. People might also start bringing up past crimes with a view that bribery might have helped to perpetrate the police decisions (Pollock, 2012).

Conclusion

The officer should have read the traffic offence law to the boy. He should not have discussed any monetary gain with the minor. In this case, the officer should have enforced the law principles and not violate them. Because of the high expectations of the law from law enforcers like him, Job could face stiffer penalties than any other officer working anywhere else.

References

Pollock, J. (2012). Ethical dilemmas and decisions in criminal justice. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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IvyPanda. "Discretion of Police in Traffic Stops." April 19, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/discretion-of-police-in-traffic-stops/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Discretion of Police in Traffic Stops." April 19, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/discretion-of-police-in-traffic-stops/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Discretion of Police in Traffic Stops'. 19 April.

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