Police Discretion Is An Issue For American Policing

1027 WordsMay 1, 20155 Pages
Police discretion is an issue for American policing because how police use their discretion can greatly impact the public’s view on the police. First what police discretion is must be defined, “the leeway that officers enjoy in selecting from more than one choice in carrying out their work” (Mastrofski, 2004). This definition accurately sums up an ability the police use every single day that affects the public. The police can use discretion for almost any situation they encounter. There are many reason the police can exercise their own discretion the way they do, usually through personnel experience or departmental policy. While every person exercise discretion on a daily basis the reason police discretion is an issue is because they are agents of a government force that are allowed by the public to enforce the rules set down by members of the legislature that are elected by the public. Discretion for the police arises because of the individual subjectivity that each officers use when assessing an incident that requires police attention. An example is that Officer A does not arrest a teenage for underage drinking, he instead pour out the remaining alcohol and tells the youth to go home and that he better never catch him drinking again. In the same situation Officer B arrest the youth for underage drinking. The way these officers handle the situation different is police discretion. Officer B may have had a young relative that was involved in a drunk driving accident, either

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