Police Discretion Essay

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In this essay a discussion will be explored about the benefits and problems associated with police use of discretion. Which current policing strategies have the most potential for controlling officer discretion and providing accountability, and which have the least, and why is that the case? And finally, how might these issues impact the various concerns facing law enforcement today? Police behavior is different across all communities. In fact, how police react to combat crime is affected by the management style of the various police administrators. Also, local politics will have a strong influence on how police react to crime. When police respond to a call, they will make a determination of the “cost and benefits” of their reaction. …show more content…
Without this network of informers, it would be difficult to capture users, possessors and sellers of illegal drugs. In this circumstance police discretion has a net positive effect. When and how officers use discretion is not always seen in a positive light by some members of the community; for example some officers feel that an assault between two blacks is an acceptable way for them to handle disputes, therefore there would be no need to invoke the criminal process (Goldstein, 1960). An officer’s negative appraisal of minorities is one of the reasons they are so over-represented in the criminal justice system. If officers are making the decision not to invoke the criminal process when dealing with white upper class males, but in most cases invoking the criminal process when dealing with members of the minority community, that is a violation of due process. In that case, the net affect of police discretion is negative. One important work which highlighted some of the shortcomings of officer discretion was a survey sponsored by the American Bar Foundation. Among other things that survey noted in the 1960’s a national crisis arose with certain problems relating to law enforcement. The survey noted that the possibility existed that discretionary decision making could represent a pattern of discrimination, it did say, on the other hand, the survey was unable to say definitively rather discrimination existed in

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