Ride Along

Topics: Police, Criminal law, Crime Pages: 4 (1488 words) Published: September 18, 2013
Criminal Justice
A student ride-along allows the student to observe the use of discretion and techniques that are used by the police officers who patrol our communities. Many people falsely believe that policing is what they see portrayed in the media. We never realize that there is much more to police work then what we consider entertaining or even amusing. By watching a patrol officer in the field, I was able to gain valuable insights into questions concerning why police officers stop certain individuals, why some individuals are taken into custody while others are not, and lastly how the discretion of an officer affects how they perform their jobs. I will discuss these three questions while using three separate situations that occurred during my ride-along. According to Schmalleger (2012) strict liability is a philosophy based on the presumption that causing harm is in itself blameworthy, regardless of the actor’s intent. It requires no culpable mental state and presents a significant exception to the principle that all crimes require a concurrence of actus reus and mens rea. (Schmalleger, 2012) Strict liability offenses make it a crime simply to do something, even if the offender has no intention of violating the law. (Schmalleger, 2012) According to Schmalleger (2012) routine traffic offenses are generally considered strict liability offenses. Why do officers stop certain individuals?

Going out on a ride-along, I meet up with the patrol officer; he is around my age and twice my size. He works out a lot, when asked why he does this, he replies that many patrol officers do this because it may help them out in situations, if for example a criminal wants to get aggressive; he may not if the officer is in good physical shape. We roll out, and at approximately 8:30 a.m. we observe a late model blue ford focus swerving within the lane directly in front of us. The officer turns on his lights and sirens and pulls the car over to the side of...

References: Collins, K. (2010). Police Ranks and Pay in the United States. Chicago: Advent Press.
Command, P. H. (2012, October 30). 10780 Pebble Hills.
Erikson, C. (2010). The Ten Most Dangerous Jobs in America. San Francisco: Pearson Press.
Hurt, C. (1994). Police Information and Rank Structure. Boston: Rainbow Press.
Jones, A. (2011). Educational Requirements for Police Officers. New York: American Press.
Schmalleger, F. (2012). Criminal Justice A Brief Introduction. Boston: Prentice Hall.
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