Proper Use of Police Discretion

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"Proper use of discretion is probably the most important measure of a police officer or department." -- Rich Kinsey (retired police detective) Police officers are faced each day with a vast array of situations with which they must deal. No two situations they encounter are ever the same, even when examines a large number of situations over an extended period of time. The officers are usually in the position of having to make decisions on how to handle a specific matter alone, or with little additional advice and without immediate supervision. This is the heart of police discretion. As we shall find, the exercise of discretion by police has benefits and problems associated with such exercise. The unfettered use of discretion can lead to the denial of citizen rights. Strategies that control the use of discretion are, therefore, very important. The benefits and problems of police discretion and controlling strategies are the focus of this essay. In law enforcement, discretion is left up to each police officer to make responsible and reasonable decisions on situations while in the field. A police officer will have no choice but to use discretion in certain situations and make decisions on what type of force or punishment is necessary for the situations. Many people in the society always believe that police officers can make any decision they wish to at any time while working. This is very wrong because there are situations whereby a police officer or even the chief of police has no other choice, but to follow the law in making decisions. The role of the police administrator is double challenging because, he/she must determine how best to use discretion as well as encourage or dissuade discretion by subordinate members ... ... middle of paper ... ...because when discretion is exercised appropriately, it makes the law just. Works Cited Bonaparte, N. (2012). Zimmerman/Martin Investigation. CTSGV Sanford Florida Government. Web. 26 April 2015. http://www.sanfordfl.gov/investigation/docs/Zimmerman_Martin_shooting.pdf Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. (2011). Shoot First Law. CTSGV Web. 26 April 2015. http://www.csgv.org/issues-and-campaigns/guns-democracy-and-freedom/shoot-first-laws Gleason, T. (2006, November). Ethics Training for Police. The Police Chief Voice, 73, 11. Reaves, J. (2002). Person of the Week: Charles A. Moose. Time. Web. 26 April 2015. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,363860,00.html Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant AnnArbor.com Web. 26 April 2015. http://www.annarbor.com/news/discretion-is-the-measure-of-a-police-officer/
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