An end to discretion?

I’ve now encountered this story both on NPR and WTOP: Maryland is running a pilot program for police officers where scanning the barcode on the person’s driver’s license automagically fills out part of the ticket for name and associated information. Automation is great, but I have yet to hear of any sort of project like this where the Powers That Be don’t take the opportunity to remove the discretion of the person being automated.

So I wonder – what’s the process here? Does the officer indicate before or after the swipe why s/he pulled this person over? If before, can they decide after looking at that person’s record that perhaps they deserve a break? I was fortunate enough about a year ago to have an officer look at my clean history and decide that perhaps I was as clueless as I seemed and really had just mis-read the speed limit sign. Would that not be a possibility under this system, either because it won’t allow it or because the officer’s higher-ups will scrutinize, question, and criticize any time a person is let off?

Perhaps that’s for the best anyway if it results in an end to unfair and silly “professional courtesy” where some are more equal than others.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


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