Duty to All–Duty to No One: Examining the Public-Duty Doctrine and Its Exceptions

As a group, law enforcement officers are a noble and committed collection of public servants—and in some instances take their notions of “duty” beyond that required by law. Officers routinely express their perception that they have an obligation to protect individuals from other persons, to prevent accidents, and to deter criminal behavior, but this perception overstates the legal duty that is embodied in the “public-duty doctrine.”