Premium Essay

Discretion in Policing

In: Social Issues

Submitted By t3m17
Words 534
Pages 3
I chose Chapter 9, Policing Discretion and Behavior, to summarize. I chose this subject matter because my main goal of taking this course (I am not a Criminal Justice major) was to understand when, why and where an officer can search my possessions and how officers use their discretion to be objective in their line of duty and how not to be subjective when making their decisions. In my personal opinion the world is a corrupt place in many ways. I want to avoid corrupt officers at all costs and I feel as a citizen having the knowledge of police tactics and the way justice is served is the most important step in doing so. I am not saying I do not trust police officers, I have immense respect for their line of work; but I am not naive to the world and I know that everyone cannot be trusted.
The Role of Discretion in Policing. Unlike any citizens outside their profession, officers have the right to use force against someone. Another important characteristic of the policing profession is the amount of discretion given to individual officers. The senior police management officers make decisions about department policies, police strategies, and distribution of police resources; this is also called command discretion. Surprisingly, day to day decisions like whom to stop, whom to arrest, and who to question are made by everyday officers. These officers also decide how to deal with public complaints. There is much public concern and the media and policy makers take great interest in why and how officers exercise their discretion. In my opinion, people in the corporate world and other professions are not used to lower level workers having the power to make decisions and this sort of confuses the public about police officers and their intentions. This public concern makes studying police discretion challenging.
Defining Police Discretion. “A police officer or police agency…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Policing

...David Bayley and Clifford Shearing: The New Structure of Policing: Descriptions, Conceptualization and Research Agenda Policing is being reconstructed worldwide. Its distinguishing features are (a) the separation of those who authorize policing from who do it and (b) the transference of both functions away from government The change in policing cannot be understood in customary terms. It is often mischaracterized for example as privatization. Because the distinction between public and private domain becomes problematic in the new policing, the more appropriate description for what is occurring is multilateralization—as host of non governmental groups have assumed responsibility for their own protection, and a host of nongovernmental agencies have undertake to provide security services Crucial distinction is made between the auspices and providers of policing. Auspices are groups (and sometimes individuals) that explicitly and self-consciously take upon themselves the responsibility for organizing their own protection. Providers are groups that actually do the policing. In the old paradigm of policing government had responsibility for articulating security needs and for developing institutions to meet them. This has changed auspices can either be public (govt) or private (nongovt) Governments were the organizational auspices for formulating demand for policing, and they were the providers who supplied it. These two functions have become separate it has become acceptable......

Words: 811 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Police Discretion Case Analysis

...Police Discretion Case Analysis Albeiro E. Florez Law Enforcement Administration CCJS 340 Due by 13 October 2013 Author Note Albeiro E. Florez, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Maryland University College. This report is a response to Professor Jeffrey B. Bumgarner’s project 2 directives. Correspondence concerning this report should be addressed to Albeiro E. Florez, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Maryland University College, Adelphi eCampus, Adelphi, MD 20783. Contact: florezalbeiro87@gmail.com Police Discretion Case Analysis People make decisions on a daily basis to decide what we should do in any given situation. Having the knowledge to differentiate between what is appropriate or inappropriate is what gives us the freedom to make this decision with the correct judgment. In law enforcement, sworn officers are taught to face any situation by employing good judgment and making the best decisions by themselves or with little to no supervision. This is what we know as police discretion (The Rynard Law Firm, 2007). The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes discretion as “the quality of being careful about what you do and say so that people will not be embarrassed or offended” (Merriam-Webster, 2013). Although systematic routines and protocols need to be followed by officers to ensure they abide by the law as well as to enforce it, often circumstances will show up and force officers to make a decision based on what they feel is......

Words: 2424 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Policing

...Discretion is defined as the authority to make a decision between two or more choices. More specifically, it is defined as “the capacity to identify and to document criminal and noncriminal events. Every police officer has a great deal of discretion concerning when to use their authority, power, persuasion, or force. Depending on how an officer sees their duty to society will determine an officer’s discretion. Discretion leads to selective enforcement practices and may result in discrimination against certain groups of people or select individuals (Young, 2011). Most police officer discretion is exercised in situational situations with individuals (Sherman, 1984). Discrimination can lead to legal problems for an officer of the law. If discrimination due to an officer’s use of discretion results in a violation of due process it is a violation of the law (Young, 2010). Due process is the constitutionally mandated procedural steps designed to eliminate error in any governmental deprivation of liberty, life, or property (Pollock, 2010). One of the main concerns with using discretion is the possibility of it leading to a violation of due process by racial profiling. Types of Negative Police Discretion Racial profiling occurs when a police officer uses a “profile” as reasonable suspicion to stop a person with the intent to obtain consent to search their belongings (Pollock, 2010). These stops are usually traffic stops and the officer is looking to obtain consent to search the...

Words: 2115 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Community Policing

...policy and practice of community policing today. In the following paper I will discuss and review the literature of the issues and history that have brought about the creation of community policing. I will start from the beginning with Sir Robert Peel and the creation of the Metropolitan Police Force in 1829, to the Political era starting in 1820, and the Professional and Reform era in the 1940’s to 1970 that has lead us to the implementation of community policing today. The policy and practice of community policing will then be explained in detail to give the reader a thorough understanding of the core elements of community policing and what it consists of. Also, how the policy is meant to be used in regards to implementation and who the policy is meant to impact will be discussed. The following paper is merely a review of previous literature on community policing to give a detailed explanation of what it is. From its earliest conception, policing was meant to involve a connection between citizens and police officers alike. Sir Robert Peel, the founder of the Metropolitan Police Force of London in 1829, which is credited with being the earliest assemblage of professional policing, contended that police departments and their communities were meant to share the common goal of protecting the welfare of the community and in order to accomplish this goal the police and citizens had to count on each other (Nadine M. Connell, 2008). Although policing in the United States (U.S.)......

Words: 1812 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Policing

...officer is employed. Some are beat cops, for example, patrolling a regular route to look out for infractions of the law, while others specialize in dog handling, bomb disposal, and various other fields of law enforcement. Police practices vary from one area to another and variations have been seen in the different styles of policing, structure, patterns of crime, and the demands of local communities. Most variations in police behavior have been seen in urban settings while rural and small-town policing has been relatively neglected. Variations from one area to the next frequently focus on comparisons among urban areas, occasionally make rural-urban comparisons, but rarely examine differences among rural areas (Warner, 1974). Crime prevention is often based on understanding the causes of crime, in order to find a way to reduce ‘risk factors’ within a community. One way to help with crime prevention is to try to tackle the social causes of crime, through cooperation with other departments within the community such as employment generation, poverty reduction, housing and education. Other approaches may include having the police try new methods such as community policing by helping with the rehabilitation of offenders and community projects to reduce the opportunities for crime in the community. When a police manager wants to have a positive police force that deals well with its community and wants to provide its officer and community with the best resources possible, the......

Words: 908 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Policing

...Policing Matt S Rippee Sam Houston State University Abstract There is an abundance of white collar crime that occurs around all of us. The problem with this is too many people think that they can get away with it, and many of them do. To stop this influx of crime, a large number of agencies have been formed. These agencies use a joint policing style to combat white collar crime in the most effective way. Each and every day it is becoming harder to cheat the system due to the diligence and hard work that these agencies put forth. Policing White collar crime is around us everywhere. People that appear as if they have it all are scamming the system and profiting heavily from it. Due to these issues we have several agencies that work day and night to stop white collar crime. In broader terms there is really only three types of agencies that enforce white collar crime. This includes private agencies, formal criminal police agencies, and governmental regulatory agencies. With white collar crimes a lot of the time multiple different types of agencies will work together. This joint policing tactic is really the best way to explain the majority of success in white collar crime cases. Although there are only three types of agencies that go after white collar crime, those types have a large number of agencies within them. The first agency that I want to talk about is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI is probably the most......

Words: 1075 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Police Discretion

...perspective discretion can be defined as the authority granted by law to agencies and officials to act on their own considered judgement and conscience in certain situations; and each area of the legal system (judges, parliament and law enforcement) has its own discretion. Police discretion is the ability granted by the legal system to police offices, in certain situations, to act in a manner that allows authorities to make responsible decisions and individual choices or judgments, within certain legal bounds. In law enforcement, discretion is left up to each individual officer to make reasonable and responsible decisions out in the field everyday (Beech, 2008). Discretion is used in many situations, such as when an officer chooses to stop a vehicle for a small traffic violation. There are also times when the officer has no choice but to use specific discretion in certain situations and make a decision on what type of force is necessary for certain situations (Elicker, 2007). Society believes that an officer can make any choice he or she chooses at anytime while on the job, which is highly incorrect as there are many situations when an officer has no choice but to follow the law. For the most part every officer has a choice when to use or not to use discretion, and enforce the law, but allowing this choice to be made by individuals, who may seem like an average member of society, can pose a real threat regarding the misuse of such power (Delattre, 2006). Police discretion......

Words: 2669 - Pages: 11

Free Essay

Police Discretion

...Assignment: Police Discretion CJS/210 I define discretion as being anytime one may make a decision. The decision may be anything as simple as what to wear that day to something as complicated as to whether or not to accept a job in a different state. Discretion is used many times in one day; one may not even realize that they are using discretion. Discretion is critical in law enforcement because it could be the difference between life and death either for the law enforcement officer himself or others. A law enforcement officer has to make split second decisions that can affect one’s life dramatically if the wrong decision is made; this is why it is important for the right decision to be made. Not only can the wrong decision cause death or serious injury, it can also cause one’s life to be torn upside down if a wrong arrest is made. The officer in the scenario exercised discretion in these three ways. First the officer used discretion when she decided to stop and provide medical care if needed, by deciding to approach the suspect instead of driving on discretion was used. Second, the officer used discretion by deciding to chase after the suspect when he ran away. Third, the officer exercised discretion when she chased after the suspect again even though a violent struggle had occurred instead of calling for back up first. I believe that the officer did use appropriate discretion; however I believe that she could have saved herself a lot of trouble and pain if she...

Words: 402 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Discretion

...Merriam-Webster defines discretion as “the quality of having, or showing good judgment.” When I think of discretion, I think of someone using their logical rationale to make the best decision within a given a set of circumstances. Another aspect of discretion is being discreet. That aspect focuses more closely on doing things and exhibiting actions without the knowledge of others. In this essay I will talk about both aspects of discretion and various applications of each aspect. Discretion is a social tool that is used by every one on a daily basis. When there aren’t specific rules put into place that you must follow, then you must then use your autonomy to make a decision that make the most sense. Discretion goes hand in hand with ones common sense. One example of exhibiting discretion could be explained with the following scenario. Imagine that you are driving down the street and the light happens to turn yellow. You have to make the decision to either slow down or go faster. Even though the law calls for you to slow down, it is still permissible for you to use your discretion when making that decision. You may decide to keep going as opposed to stopping because you feel as if you are going too fast to make a safe stop. Discretion is useful because it gives you the power to decide what is okay and what isn’t. Everyone has their own gauge of discretion but only some are good. This is the same with common sense. Most people have common sense, but they just vary in the......

Words: 460 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Policing

...Annette Davis Inside Public and Private Policing CJA 500 Survey of Administration & Justice Dr. John Baiamonte, Jr. November 1, 2010 Assignment Write a 1500 to 2000 word paper that compares and contrasts the roles, responsibilities, and differences of public and private policing.  Cite at least two scholarly works (articles or books) or government documents. However, your textbook cannot be used as a source. Public policing has been known to have a monopoly on policing until the increased trend of private policing in the United States. Private policing, while emerging as a new industry, is not a new phenomenon and predates the existence of public police as witnessed today (Wilson 1994). Public and private policing have many similarities, as well as differences and the distinction between public and private police are often blurred. Private police look and behave like public police and describing their function often involves a comparison of the activities and responsibilities of the two. Despite the differences, public and private police tend to mirror each other to a certain extent (Nalla & Newman, 1990). The increase of private policing has been in response to many changes in society such as the increase of "mass private property" (Shearing and Stenning, 1983) in the form of large shopping complexes, cinemas, large retail stores and large compound style housing estates or gated communities. These require constant surveillance for the safety of shoppers and......

Words: 8202 - Pages: 33

Premium Essay

Policing

...Elizabeth Mendoza Article Critique – Police Discretion & Force Professor Coleman Police System & Practices / 2328-51001 El Centro College The degree of force that officers use is heavily influenced by police discretion in real-world situations rather than espoused by a certain agenda. Discretion can be classified into four different categories where administrators, the community, and the individual police officer exercise differing degrees of influence in decision-making. What is needed to help officer discretion is a central ethos that will guide discretion when all other rules fail to help.  Normal force is distinct from legal and brutal force (Hunt, 1985). Legal force is taught in police academy. It pertains to being able to subdue, restrain, and control a suspect if the officer is threatened with great bodily harm. Legal force also encompasses the use of deadly force if justified. Normal force is learned when the officer hits the streets and is conditioned to buy more effective weapons, which produce more damage to the suspect. In the academy recruits are taught not to hit a person on the head or neck because of their vulnerability, but on the street officers must hit the suspect wherever they can to control them. Peer approval further justifies this treatment. Thus, when police use the necessary amount of force they are not held accountable for a needed increase, but in fact will be looked down upon by fellow officers if a rookie does not show the......

Words: 831 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Policing

...Policing in U.S Society Paper Brittany Duke CJS/210 11/08/2015 Brian Carter Policing in U.S Society Paper The United States has one of the most complex law enforcement systems in the world compared to other countries. There are several different policing organizations throughout the United States. These policing organizations can be broken down into two main agencies, federal law enforcement agencies and state and local law enforcement agencies. Federal law enforcement agencies contain officers that work for agencies in different departments such as the department of justice, department of Treasury, and Department of Homeland Security. Law enforcement agencies are at the federal level only, but they enforce various laws. They try and level local crime to the State. According to “Discover Policing” (2008-2015), “There are more than 17,000 state and local law enforcement agencies in the United States”. Every state has its own police force, and so does every city and every county. The State and local law enforcement agencies include different law enforcement agencies such as local police, state police, as well as other agencies. Local police includes municipal and county police that obtained their authority from that specific governing body that created it. They interact locally within their jurisdiction to uphold the laws in that area and take care of local crimes. State police perform police duties within their assigned state, they mainly help with......

Words: 408 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Policing

...Policing happened long before computers existed, but the job is more streamlined and efficient now that computers play a major role in the way police officers work. Police agencies benefit tremendously from computers in accessing criminal and fingerprint databases, reporting offenses electronically, using GPS systems to track calls and speeding up forensics work. 1. Police Databases o Police use two main types of databases. Fingerprint databases allow forensics teams to run fingerprints found at a crime scene against prints in the system. These prints may be on file because of a person's criminal history or because of that person's job or licensing requirements. Though the database is not immediate, the process is faster than a lab worker comparing one-by-one. Police officers also use criminal databases, which show people arrested, indicted and convicted of various crimes. These databases allow for easier tracking of serial crimes and for identification of potential suspects. Offense Reports o Inputting offense reports is a time-consuming part of an officer's job. Much of the information is repetitive but must be completed. By having software programs for filing incident or offense reports, officers can cut out the time they spend on administrative tasks and focus on field work instead. GPS Tracking o GPS units in patrol cars allow officers to input addresses when calls come in. Rather than searching in the dark or trying to memorize an entire precinct, the officers can...

Words: 1449 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Courtroom Discretion

...Courtroom Discretion Q&A Response Misty Moore, Victoria Hardin and Elizabeth Ortiz CJA/224 September 19, 2011 Rick Rice Courtroom Discretion Q&A Response What is prosecutorial discretion? When a crime happens evidence is gathered, witnesses are found and a case file is established all the information. Due to an overabundance of case files, prosecutors review each file and which will be brought to trial. When there is enough evidence to convince the prosecutor the person suspected of committing the crime is guilty without a reasonable doubt, he or she will pursue the case to trial. Many decisions pertaining to a case going to trial and how actively they pursue the case are left up to prosecutors and how they view the evidence and what the evidence means to them. This can be described as prosecutorial discretion. How does this affect the prosecutor and overall case flow in the criminal court system? Prosecutorial discretion puts an abundance of pressure on the prosecutors and their roles in the courts. The prosecution must without a reasonable doubt prove the defendant is responsible for committing the crime. And in doing so must remain within the regulations of the courts. Sometimes the prosecution’s personal, ethical. Organizational, or political beliefs can becomea driving force into a trail which can have negative effects on the courts when misconduct occurs or mistakes are made. When misconduct or mistakes are made it can have very damaging effects...

Words: 1037 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Policing

...Organizational Theories of Policing Rashika S. Bowden CJS/210 9/72010 Instructor-Mark Morrison Response to Organizational Policing People explore the organizational theories as ways to explain plus help individuals see structure and simples ways the police agencies work. The tree theories of policing are 1) Resource Dependency, 2) Contingency, 3) Institutional. Resource dependency is often used for recognizing that organizations must find ways to survive, and engage in exchange with other organizations is their environment. Up holding an external social and political environment, contingency theory believes that it can and will create structure and achieve specific goals. “Last but not least institutional theories hold and place organizations under a category to operate with relations so they can improve their social and external political beliefs” (Walker & Katz, 2008). Agencies and police organizations try to operate according to the theories that were listed above. Often times as I have seen in numerous cases, if gang activity is a consistent problem in or around different communities, the agencies and police organizations will eventually form or call in the special gang unit. “However, not all resource dependent departments are awarded funding for their community issues; departments that struggle with gang-related problems may not have the resources to form a special gang unit. Each theory can explain the structures and operational strategies of most...

Words: 425 - Pages: 2