Criminal Law

150 words each. add additional insight.

Question: The police are organized around the enforcement of not only the criminal law but also of moral behavior generally. How do the police engage in the identification and enforcement of morality? What are the implications of having the police enforce standards of behavior? Do the police, in fact, decide what appropriate moral behavior is?

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Classmate reply 1

I believe that law enforcement can encourage individuals behavior to be moral righteous. Officers operate within specific confines determined by the federal and state constitution as well as ordinances and department policies. That is where the officer is drawing his authority to take enforcement actions. Therefore I would argue that the policy makers are the true individuals engaging in the identification of morality therefore giving officers the ability to enforce said morality. However I do believe that an officers ability to exercise discretion allows them to observe situations and understand that while the letter of the law is telling them to do one thing, they can make a informed decision that best resolves the issues at hand for everyone involved. Which in turn can allow them to make an immoral situation moral.

For example an officer stops a single mother with two small children in her car that are not in car seats. She tells him that she is struggling financially and not able to afford expensive car seats for her children. While the officer could cite the mother, causing her more financial strain he recognizes that it would not resolve his issue of the children not being in appropriate safety seats and also not help the mother be able to afford the seats. Instead he contacts the local fire department and they respond with two car seats from their grant funded program and the mother receives only a warning ending the encounter having made the most moral decision.

Classmate Reply 2


I believe that individuals tend to react and take actions based on what they believe to be morally right or wrong. Many times officers in leadership positions tend to take actions based on discretion, the steps they take, the rules, and beliefs they each have are what impacts the different actions and directions that the officers take and implement. The job of officers is to enforce the law and to be able to tell what actions are right and wrong and within the legal realm. Sometimes officers have to use discretion in order to identify each different action and offender takes as well as each particular case. Within law enforcement agencies, police officers and leaderships take actions based on what they believe is right or wrong or if it is legal or an illegal action being taken. I believe that enforcing standards of behavior can result in issues being created due to the different moral behavior and ethical reasoning that each officer has. I believe leadership within the police agencies dictate the different moral behaviors that are being enforced based on ones beliefs and understandings.

Works Cited

Okada, D., Maguire, M., & Sardina, A. (2018). Critical Issues in Crime and Justice (3rd Edition). SAGE Publications, Inc. (US).

Mays, G. L., & Ruddell, R. (2018). Making Sense of Criminal Justice (3rd Edition). Oxford University Press Academic US.




Question: What is the value of constructing theories reflecting crime causation? What are the major considerations or variables necessary in constructing a reasonable crime causation explanation? Of what benefit are crime theories to your average criminal justice professional?


Classmate reply 1


The value in constructing theories of crime causation is because that not all jurisdictions experience the same crimes at the same levels. There are varying circumstances that determine what crimes are being committed in individual jurisdictions. When we step back and consider the influences that are causing the certain crimes we allow ourselves to understand how best to combat them and take care of the root of the problem. Take for instance a small rural farming community that has recently been dealing with their farm animals being stolen (cattle rustling). A major U.S. police department that is operating in a urban setting would not have this same problem because there are not farms within an urban setting. They are more likely dealing with all of the major violent crimes that the small rural town vary rarely has to deal with. When considering variables of crime causation, poverty is an important factor. Generally your poor communities or sections of town are where the most crime occurs. That is not to say that poverty makes someone a criminal, however it does provide necessity which could lead to drug dealing, gang involvement, theft/robbery etc.

In regard to the benefit of an average criminal justice professional I assume that to mean a regular patrol officer or beat cop. To a beat cop, I dont think that the theories mean a whole lot. I think where the theories benefit them the most is by influencing their command staff to provide resources where they are needed most. If command staffs implement criminologists, and modern policing techniques based on theories then the beat officers have the information and resources to do the leg work and prevent or interdict the criminals.




Classmate reply 2


The value of constructing theories that reflect crime causation is that these various theories provide us with a way of understanding why crime happens. A second important value of constructing crime causation theories is that it allows for law enforcement to approach crime in various ways that support the needs of the community that they are serving. Many variables go into creating a crime causation model including, race, population, societal norms, and most importantly research. One commonly used research tool is CompStat. Okoda, Maguire, & Sardina (2018) said “The underlying concept of CompStat is that police officers and police agencies can have a substantial positive impact on crime and quality-of-life problems facing the communities they serve if managed strategically. It presents police executives and managers with a new way of looking at police organizations and police activities. It is radically different from the accepted concepts and practices that have guided police administration through most of it existence, and it points to new methods and strategies similar to those used by business managers that police agencies can use to fulfill their mission” (p. 262). CompStat uses a method of research that examines traditional, problem-oriented methods of policing to reduce crime. If crime in specific areas does not decline, police management is held accountable and must come up with another strategy to fight crime effectively. I think that the research involved in creating tools like CompStat is a great advantage to criminal justice professionals as it allows law enforcement to zero in on problem areas and helps them to understand better how they can solve the crime issues.


Okada, D., Maguire, M., & Sardina, A. (2018). Critical Issues in Crime and Justice (3rd Edition). SAGE Publications, Inc. (US).



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