Should off duty police officers who break the law be treated more harshly than civilians, less harshly, or the same?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Off duty police officers who commit crimes should be treated the same as civilians.  

One can argue that officers should be treated more harshly than civilians.  After all, officers are supposed to be authority figures who should set an example for the rest of us.  They, of all people, should know better than to break the law.  Therefore, they should deserve more punishment.

But this is not how the law should work.  As long as people who break the law are mentally competent and are old enough to know better, they are all equally guilty.  If we punish police officers more harshly, we are denying them the equal protection of the law.  The laws should treat people equally rather than trying to determine which people should have known better or which people are more responsible for setting a good example.