Friday, May 05, 2006


Few readers took issue with police officers using entrapment tactics to catch lawbreakers, even if it means committing a crime in the process.

But F.Getz of Huntington Beach, Calif., thinks that it depends on the tactic used.

"I feel that police who prostitute themselves in order to entrap johns (are) morally disgusting," Getz writes, "as opposed to them posing as johns to arrest prostitutes. The former does not rid the streets of the problem, but the latter does."

Monsie Crane of Fullerton, Calif., has no problem with the practice as long as the police don't "hurt innocent citizens in their effort to catch lawbreakers."

Jennifer Jarvis of Orange, Calif., also agrees.

"They are catching the people who are breaking the law," she writes."That is their job."

Elaine Roberts of Laguna Beach, Calif., wonders who could have a problem with police going online and posing as children to catch pedophiles.

"It could be your child getting in that kind of trouble," she writes.

"Anyone who is afraid of this sort of activity," writes John Minard of Huntington Beach, Calif., "may have engaged in activities that can be trapped and they are protecting their own activities."

Check out other opinions at: or post your on by clicking on COMMENTS below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of "The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business" (Spiro Press, 2003), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," New York Times Syndicate, 609 Greenwich St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10014-3610.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don Hull of Costa Mesa, Calif., writes that he is "outraged when police use entrapment tactics to catch lawbreakers, primarily because, to do so, they must commit crimes themselves in the process."

How many of us have complained or heard someone else complain, "Why don't the police get involved before a crime?" "Why don't they do something to protect us?".
If we took Don's position then we should have a police person on every door step, on every road, at every business standing behind each child using a computer, on every street corner waiting to "catch" the bad people in the "act" of committing a crime. This way they would not have to "commit" a crime but just be ready to "catch" them. We want police protection for our safety but do we want proactive police? I say yes. If one is offended by the proactivity of police then they will soon be lamenting the drugs on EVERY corner, prostitues in every church, drivers ignoring ALL traffic signals. Proactivity does set up a questionable action by police to help enforce the laws. Would you rather have no patrols in your neighborhoods, no cops walking the beat, no police watching for speeders? sure would save a lot of money....the decision will dictate the type of society you want tomorrow.

Robert K