Law Enforcement Scenario
Ethical Issue: Law Enforcement
Officer Nixon, a 20-year veteran, and Officer Rook, who has been on the force for less than a year, respond to a reported domestic violence call. When they get there, they observe a man staggering up the walkway to the residence. He drops something and bends down to pick it up. The officers notice that the man is holding what appears to be a set of car keys. They see him put the item in his pocket before he reaches the front door. As the officers park their vehicle, the man opens the door and enters the residence.
The two officers exit their vehicle and approach the front door. The only car on the street is a blue station wagon. Officer Nixon touches the hood of the station wagon and discovers it is still warm to the touch. Before they reach the door, a woman opens it and greets them. She tells the police that she called them because she and her husband had a verbal argument, and when her husband left the house, she started to worry about him. Now that he is home, she states, she no longer needs their services. She denies being hit—despite the dispatcher’s indications to the contrary. No injuries are visible.
The husband joins his wife at the door, and the police ask him some questions to corroborate his wife’s story. The police notice that he is slurring his words and has other objective symptoms of intoxication. They ask the man if he had been driving. The husband and wife exchange nervous glances, and the wife says that he has not. The husband then tells the officer that he went for a walk around the block to cool off.
The couple admits that they only own one vehicle, and it is the blue station wagon parked on the street in front of the residence. The wife states that she has not driven the car all day. The husband states that he parked the car there when he returned home from work 4 hours ago. They ask him to empty his pockets. In his front pocket, there are a set of keys. He...