When the Supreme Court voted to review the decision of the Illinois Supreme Court holding Chicago's "gang loitering" ordinance invalid on federal constitutional grounds, it seemed plausible that City of Chicago v Morales would be the occasion for a major statement from the Court on a set of complex issues – issues including not only the nature of the police officer's authority to maintain order in public places, but also the relative roles of politics and judicial decision making in delineating both the limits on this authority and the latitude left to police to employ discretion in its exercise. After all, communities today are experimenting with a broad variety of new policing styles. Some of these experiments have emphasized the importance of a neighborhood's public spaces to the health of its community and have involved police in efforts to improve the "quality of life" in such spaces. Police have seen to the removal of trash and abandoned cars along streets where children play. There has been a revival of interest in the enforcement of statutes and ordinances aimed at low-level public disorder. In some places, this local experimentation has produced a new confidence among community residents in the ability of police to con- tribute to the well-being of the neighborhoods they serve. Elsewhere, however, police initiatives directed at crime and disorder have generated concern, anxiety, and outright anger about police intrusiveness, particularly as directed at minority populations.
Law | Law Enforcement and Corrections | State and Local Government Law
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Debra A. Livingston,
Gang Loitering, the Court, and Some Realism About Police Patrol,
Sup. Ct. Rev.
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