QUESTION ONE: Chapter 12 discusses the issue of police discretion and community relations. There are 8 main issues raised by the authors. Describe the highlights of the issues.
Police discretion is defined as an authority given to police officers to make judgment calls, as to whether or not they will follow policing statues, or allow someone to leave with a warning. According to the text, discretion occurs at every level of decision making within the criminal justice process, and how it is used can affect other components within the system.
Police use their discretion to determine what laws should or should not be enforced. Discretion can be used in most instances; however there are some incidences that a police officer cannot ignore, which include homicides, sexual crimes, and crimes against children.
The elements of discretion consist of the officer’s judgment, personal autonomy, and influence. When it comes to their decision making, factors are involved, of which include situational factors, environmental factors. A major reason discretion is used is because a majority of the time, a police officer does not have the time or resources to stop every person who breaks the law.
For the police in discretional decision making, situational Factors tend to be influenced; key factors that are included consist of: (1) the offenders attitude, (2) personal bias, (3) offenders use of alcohol or drugs, (3) seriousness of the crime, (4) presence of a weapon, (5) prior record of the offender, (6) victims presence and preference, (7) gang related, (8) location and time of day, and many more.
Environmental factors that influence an officer’s discretion include their personal values; pressures from their supervisors or peers, and their...
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...nt component of the safety and security of the community.
The idea of “prevention” is rooted in the belief that crime and oppression are driven by daily factors, those of which include (1) the lives of the individuals, (2) local environment, and (3) the situations and opportunities that facilitate offending. Coming up with the issues relating to criminal actions can aid officials to better implement a set of strategies and programs to decrease the problems and avert future criminal activity.
With its successful innovations and increasing prevention strategies, the communities will become safer than before. Maintaining relationships between community members and law enforcement will strengthen the bonds and provide a more secure atmosphere for all involved. There will indeed be trials and tribulations along the way; this, however, is a step in the right direction.
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