Better judgment discretion

Police have wide discretion in how they resolve situations. Diversion programs are one alternative to arrest. (Bill Gnade file photo)

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Officer Matt Lima of the Somerset Police Department pulled up to a Stop & Shop in Massachusetts for a report of shoplifting around 5 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2020. An employee had seen women putting groceries in bags without scanning them — various food items, including a ham, totaling about $220.

Lima spoke to the women, a mother whose two kids were with her and their aunt, he recalled in an interview. They admitted the theft, told him they knew it was wrong and had no prior records.

GSNC

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