The Thin Blue Line Or Thick Blue Wall?

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C. Kenneth Meyer
Travis K. Ouverson


Professionalism, Discretionary Authority, Trust, Preferential Treatment, Racial Profiling, Discipline, Media Relations, and Organizational Culture


A routine traffic stop turns into a “sticky wicket” when charges are made that customary professional courtesies were not-extended between two officers from neighboring jurisdictions. Police professionalism issues, coupled with preferential treatment expectations and “thin-blue line” implications are embedded in the case study.  As this routine occurrence takes on a momentum of its own, complaints are filed, investigations are conducted, public “whistle-blowing” is revealed, and the chief of police is presented with conflicting opinions that were printed in the Courier—a regional newspaper. In the final analysis the issue of discretionary use of authority comes into the dynamics of the case study.


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