Final Exam Study Guide

Final Exam Study Guide - P olice Discretion -Know the...

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Police Discretion -Know the definition of police discretion In the criminal justice system discretion refers to action taken by a criminal justice official, based on that official’s judgment about the best course of action -Be familiar with examples of police discretion at various levels (patrol, detectives etc.) 1. Patrol Officers Decisions Discretionary decisions by patrol officers related to crime include: To patrol an area more intensively than normal To conduct a high speed pursuit To stop, question, or frisk a suspect To write a crime report To make an arrest To use physical or deadly force Decisions by patrol officers in order maintenance situations include: To mediate a domestic dispute rather than make an arrest To suggest that one party to a dispute leave the premises To refer a person to a social service agency To commit a mentally disturbed person to a mental health facility 2. Detectives' Decisions Decisions by detectives related to criminal investigations include: To stop investigating a crime because of a lack of leads To seek a warrant for a search To conduct a stakeout 3. Police Managers’ Decisions Police managers make discretionary decisions about law enforcement policy and priorities. These include: To adopt community policing or problem-oriented policing To give high priority to traffic law violations To ignore minor drug offenses such as possession of small amounts of marijuana To crack down on prostitution To give social gambling low priority
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-Pros and cons of police discretion -Discretion is necessary in any industry, including law enforcement -But as with most things, discretion has some positives and negatives Potential Negatives of Police Discretion - Discrimination: can lead to unequal enforcement of laws -i.e. racial profiling Denial of Due Process - may harass suspects without formally charging them with anything -Corruption —too much unmonitored discretion opens the door for corruption -PCR Problems - discretion that leads to uneven enforcement of laws may undermine police- community relations -Internal problems -without enough guidelines on use of discretion it is difficult to evaluate officer’s performance -Undermine department policy— If officers on the street make decisions inconsistent with department policy, the policy will not be carried out. Positives of Police Discretion Effective Use of Scarce Resources - the police and the CJ system as a whole couldn’t handle processing every detected law violation -Have to have the ability to deal with a lot of violations with no official action -Allows for proper exercise of professional judgment -i.e. used judgment to determine that no crime was committed and that he should not fill out a crime report. Individualized Justice -
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Final Exam Study Guide - P olice Discretion -Know the...

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