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Law Enforcement Terminology Explained
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - In an effort to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the general public, the Salt Lake City Police Department has prepared a press kit describing the specialized terminology used in police work. "We update the public regularly through press briefings like this one," explained police detective Bane Dwaird, "But we weren't convinced that the press or the public fully understood the more technical nomenclature common to our work. We hope that this binder of information will prove helpful in 'deciphering the code' as it were, giving everyone a clearer picture of the status of various high-profile cases."

In the packet presented to reporters were various sample cases with certain terms highlighted, a collection of mug shots, and a so-called 'photo line up'. Most useful of all was the pamphlet "Law Enforcement Glossary". Among the eye-opening definitions presented were:

Person of Interest: Guy we know did it, but we can't prove it yet and we don't want him getting all lawyered-up until we can.
Suspect: A 'person of interest' with a lawyer.
Spouse: Suspect.

"I didn't realize the police were being so oblique when they spoke with us," bemoaned one reporter, "I always recorded their exact words without question. Now, I just don't know..." Head hung, he trailed off and fell silent.

"Police are no more able to speak openly than anyone else," explained legal scholar Guy Reynolds, "You wouldn't expect a company to announce the departure of one of its executives by describing fraud or incompetence. To avoid legal problems, they'll say he's 'retiring' or 'accepting other challenges' or some other euphemism. The police are under the same obligation to maintain appearances."

"I know I won't look at a 'person of interest' the same way anymore," said one Salt Lake City resident, "And I'm keeping an eye on my 'spouse', too."
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