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Police Discretion And How Does It Affect The Department And The Policing Profession

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What is Police Discretion?

What is Police Discretion and How Does it Affect the Department and the Policing Profession
Steven Coffelt
Mohave Community College Abstract
What is police discretion and why is it important for officers to use discretion. What are the factors that police use when making discretionary decisions. Can discretion be abused by law enforcement, if so how. What is Police Discretion?

Introduction
Exactly what does discretion mean when it comes to a police officer whose job it is to enforce societies written laws and statues? Who decides how much discretion is allowed and when it can be used? What kind of issues concerning an individual officer’s discretion might have an effect on his or her whole department? After answering these questions, I hope to show why discretion is a necessary part of a police officer’s job. What is Police Discretion?
According to Frank Schmalleger police discretion is, “the opportunity of law enforcement officers to exercise choice while performing their daily activities” (Schmalleger, 2014, p. 119). To the public police discretion sounds very vague and may be confusing because most people believe that enforcing the law would be simple, either someone broke it or they didn’t. Police officers usually have a certain degree of discretion, which gives officers the choice of not pursuing all situations to the exact letter of the law. Practicing discretion requires good judgement and an understanding of
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