RPD: An officer’s discretion determines if a citation is issued or an arrest made

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Residents, and sometimes media members, ask why the police cite or arrest someone in one incident and not in another of a similar nature. Captain Eric Murphy said Friday morning that it’s up to an officer’s discretion depending on the circumstances he or she encounters.

Such was the case Thursday at 9:41 a.m. when the RPD received a report of several young children, ages 1 and 2, playing in and around the side street next to the Farm Bureau office, Dairy Queen and in the area of McDonalds, a high traffic zone. When the officer contacted the parents of the children, he found them to be concerned about the welfare of their kids and they explained that despite efforts to keep the kids inside, they had found a way out. In fact, Murphy said that while the officers were there, the parents were making a fix to make the apartment more secure so the kids couldn’t get out.

“If we had found the parents sleeping, or intoxicated or in an unsafe living condition for the children, they could be cited or arrested. In this case, the kids just got away from them, there was no neglect,” Murphy said, “and thus no citations or arrests.”