It what might be end of a long (and glorious?) Baltimore police tradition, two officers were convicted of misdemeanor for picking up two 15-year-old boys and dropping them off far from home, one of them barefoot. The officers were acquitted of far more serious kidnapping charges.
These officers were certain not the first police officers to pick up trouble-making youths, and, rather than dragging them through the juvenile justice system, decided a fearful two-hour walk home would be more effective punishment. (I never saw this first hand, but I heard many such second- and third-hand stories.) Such shenanigans certain fall under then category of "informal justice," but it was never clear if it was illegal discipline. Is a long lost walk good punishment all of the time? Certainly not. But might it not be the right punishment some of the time?
I'm all for (legal) alternative sanctions. One time I guy in my squad caught two kids throwing and breaking bottle early in the morning. We were a few months out of the academy and the kids were "gigged" with push-ups (ironically that is what we learned in the academy). Was this punishment technically legal? Probably not, but I thought it was one of the smartest thing I ever saw this officer do. A little discretion can go a long way.
[also published at The Agitator]