28 Jul 2022


Police Encounters with Suspects & Potential Criminal Evidence

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Police encounters with suspects prove to be a dangerous and life threatening experience, because suspects may be armed and intend to get away after assaulting the police. As a result of this police officers are always armed heavily so that they handle such suspects, especially those with incriminating evidence. At some point, the suspects may resist stopping when they are stopped by the officers, thus speeding away resulting to high-speed pursuits which may pose a threat to other road users as well. Police officers sacrifice allot for the good of the nation in maintaining law and order. Whatever encounters they face in their daily duties is more threatening and breathtaking, through consulting sources chosen on the basis of their authority on this issue, it possible to put it into perspective and determine the correct officers’ reaction. 

Officer Taylors’ thoughts had a lot to do with her decision making. This is because the suspect's description may seem like a scary movie in reality to a little child of 2. "Long braids, tattooed body, and a nose ring," definitely anyone would have such thoughts, simply because she is a bad influence on people especially the teenagers. Such appearances are capable of making a person a suspect even if the individual is not. Therefore, Officer Taylors' thoughts were just clear like any other person’s thoughts would be upon sitting suspect. 

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There was no apparent mistake for Officer Taylor to stop and pull over the suspect. Police, in the bid of maintaining law and order, have to stop and search motorists and other road users as well. According to Terry v. Ohio (1968) ruling, officers can stop, pat or restrain a person when there is reasonable cause to for doings so. Stopping and searching a car plays a crucial role in detecting and preventing crimes and apprehending criminals as well (Home Office, 2014). Besides, Officer Taylor made the stop because of the taillight which appeared as if it had broken which according to the traffic rules and the law is not right. Also, Officer Taylor might have become suspicious as a result of the time of the night thus prompting to her stopping of the suspect. It is also normal since police routinely stop or pursue suspects (Alpert, Dunham, Stroshine, Bennett, & MacDonald, 2004). It is also believed that officers are likely to have lesser grip when handling male suspects as compared to female suspects (Tillyer & Klahm, 2010). Therefore, stopping her was inevitable. 

Patting-down by security officers is always a legal and right thing to do, just to ascertain that a person may not be posing a threat to the other peaceful citizens under certain circumstances. According to the ruling in Terry v. Ohio (1968), officers can only pat suspects when there is reasonable cause to believe the suspect may be concealing something. The suspicious Officer, Taylor, had every right to pat-down the female driver since her looks added more suspicion to the Officer. Patting-down by the Officer would also make her be at peace since she was certain that there was nothing to be afraid of. As Tillyer & Klahm (2010) aptly put it, ladies are handled firmer than their male counterparts. 

When the suspect drove without complying, she raised the need for a chase. This is because she was asked for the driving license but instead she drove off without complying, which is against the law. This made the officer curious and wanted to know her reasons for not complying with the law. There was another new reason for Officer Taylor the moment the suspect took off the new goal was to make an arrest. It is a normal thing that the moment a suspect flees then a pursuit follows (Schultz, Hudak, & Alpert, 2010). It is mandatory that whenever a suspect takes off then, the officer has to respond and apprehend that individual (Shultz et. al, 2010). Therefore, there was an exigent need for the chase for Officer Taylor. 

It is hard to confirm if the firearm retrieved from the suspects' car by Officer Taylor was genuine and obtained through legal ways. This is because there is no further Intel after the officer retrieves the gun. Also, the suspect did not use it on Taylor, which points that it may be legal thus could not shoot since it was registered on her and would have become wanted for murder or attempted murder of an Officer. If it were illegal, she would have gladly used it on Officer Taylor before disappearing into the darkness. Therefore the chances of it being legal are at 70% to 30%. 

Marijuana was found in her purse, and this worsens her situation. She will be accused of refusing to comply with the authorities causing to a high-speed pursuit thus endangering the lives of other road users. Besides, she will face charges of being found in possession of illegal drugs. The baggie containing marijuana may be clear evidence when presented in the courts. Depending on the state, if she a first-time offender she may be locked up for a year and be fined $1,000 (Stine, 2016) 

A police officers greatest tool is being keen on every detail they see; this helps them solve cases faster. In this case study, Officer Taylor is very keen and quick to note the drivers’ description and the type of the car. Having this in mind, she could easily describe the car and driver to the rest of the police units thus making it easier for the suspect to be apprehended if she had decided to harm her and take off. It is imperative for private citizens always to comply with those in authority because it makes things much easier faster. After all, it is for their own benefit since when the police spot an anomaly they have to check it and possibly correct it. Therefore, compliance with the authorities is always the best option at all times 


Alpert, G. P., Dunham, G. R., Stroshine, M., Bennett, K., & MacDonald, J. (2004). Police Officers' Decision Making and Discretion: Forming Suspicion and Making a Stop . A Report to The National Institute of Justice 2004. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/213004.pdf 

Home Office. (2014). Revised code of practice for the exercise by: Police Officers of Statutory Powers of stop and search. Police Officers and Police Staff of requirements to record public encounters: Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/384122/PaceCodeAWeb.pdf 

Schultz, P. D., Hudak, E. D., & Alpert P. G. (2010). Evidence-Based Decisions on Police Pursuits: The Officer’s Perspective. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin . Retrieved from https://leb.fbi.gov/2010/march/evidence-based-decisions-on-police-pursuits-the-officers-perspective 

Stine, S. (2016). Marijuana Possession: Laws & Penalties . Retrieved from http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/marijuana-possession.htm# 

Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1. (1968) 

Tillyer, R., & Klahm, F. C. (2010). Understanding Police Use of Force: A Review of the Evidence. The Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 7 (2). pp. 214-239. 

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