As a peace officer I am constantly asked to make moral decisions, decisions where my judgment is the sole basis on what action I should or should not take. For instance, on a routine traffic stop, do I issue a citation or do I give a warning? Even in the matter of a misdemeanor arrest, do I take my arrestee to jail or do I issue a citation and release them in trust that they will show up at court?
A misdemeanor is a secondary level offense where the punishment is limited to a maximum of one year in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. On the other hand, a Felony is the highest level of offense where the violation is punishable of any fine amount and can result in sentencing of a minimum of one year in State Prison up to life, and or death as deemed appropriate by the court. The lowest level is an infraction and is only punishable by a fine. So there it is the three levels.
In my 22 plus years of service, I have never had to shoot anyone in the line of duty. However, while working in Southern California, I was once involved in a group of officers that took on random gunfire as a part of a local New Year’s Day celebration: No one was hit and no suspects were ever identified. But, with that said, to shoot or not to shoot is a question I had to answer over two decades ago. This, like any other, is just one of many moral decisions I have to make on a daily basis. If you think about it, it is not too unlike what each of you are called to everyday: to decide the right or the wrong of any given matter. Think about it….Just saying.