Discretion Of A Law Enforcement Officer

873 WordsNov 6, 20154 Pages
As a law enforcement officer, every situation will be handled differently. Everything is not always black and white, in fact when it comes to policing there are a lot of grey areas. This is where discretion plays an important role. An officer will use discretion in almost every situation he or she encounters; however there are times where an officer’s discretion is limited. There are many different factors that come in to play, some that are limiting to an officer’s discretion, and some that increase an officer’s discretion. The role that discretion plays in policing is important because the decisions that an officer makes affect the lives of the citizens, such as whether an individual should be arrested or not. Where you have discretion, you have discretion that is misused and you also have the need to control discretion. The role that discretion plays in policing is important because it affects each and every decision that a law enforcement officer makes. First, it is important to understand what discretion is. Discretion is defined as “an official action by a criminal justice official based on that individual’s judgment about the best course of action” (Walker & Katz, 2013, p. 351). This means that a law enforcement officer has the freedom to act on their own judgment. This definition of discretion is the reason why law enforcement officers have been known as “street-level bureaucrats” (Walker & Katz, 2013, p. 352). Police officers use discretion to make the
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