preview

Reasonable Suspicion in Law Enforcement

Good Essays
Being suspicious about someone is not necessarily bad for police officers, as long as you have a reason to suspect. For example, have you ever seen a person that you have never seen before, walk by your neighborhood? Law enforcement officers patrol the streets making sure there isn’t anything suspicious going on. There have been cases were the police have been accused of stopping people over for no reason. Some say they were racially profiled. Whatever the case is, police have to have reasonable suspicion to stop someone.
The term reasonable suspicion is a lesser standard than probable cause. It is a general belief that a crime is occurring, or has occurred. Reasonable suspicion can’t be only a hunch. It has to be based on the facts at hand and the reasoning from those facts that will lead someone else under the same circumstances to believe that a crime has occurred. The standard reasonable suspicion only allows law enforcement to temporarily detain, question, and frisk. It does not allow officers to search or seize because that will require probable cause. Probable cause is a set of facts and circumstances that would lead someone to believe that someone else has committed a specific crime. Probable cause is the next level of belief in order to arrest, search, and charge someone of a crime. Racial profiling, a controversial issue, has become a common problem in the police field. Some have said that they were stopped for being black, or Hispanic. Racial profile is a different problem; reasonable suspicion can’t be based on merely race, or ethnicity. For example, in my personal experience, I usually think anybody that is out late is suspicious. If I see someone walking by the neighborhood at night, I just obser...

... middle of paper ...

... to occur in predominated areas. People might say they’re being racially profiled, but if it’s in an area where mostly Hispanics, or African Americans live, then it’s not. Whatever the situation is, an officer must articulate the facts and see if there is reasonable suspicion to stop someone.
Law enforcement officers need a reason to stop you. Remember, it cannot be just a hunch the police officer had. Their action has to be backed up with facts that led him to believe you, or someone else had committed a crime. Like the Supreme Court cases we went over, all dealt with reasonable suspicion in some way. Reasonable suspicion is the standard police officers need to stop and frisk someone. They will need probable cause, a higher standard, to search and arrest a person. Remember, officers need reasonable suspicion to stop, question, and frisk for any weapons.
Get Access