Lecture 16- Police Discretion

Lecture 16- Police Discretion - Lecture 16- Police...

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Lecture 16- Police Discretion -What is discretion? - 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 -For law enforcement, it mainly refers to the latitude police officers’ are given in decision making A. Examples of Police Discretion 1. Patrol Officers What are some examples of patrol officer’s use of discretion you saw on your ride alongs? Patrol officers have a ton of discretion; as such the textbook refers to patrol officers as ” due to how much discretion they have -As Wilson noted, policing is unique as discretion increase as you move down the organizational hierarchy -lowest ranking employees have the most discretion 2. Detectives -What are some examples of discretion exercised by detectives? 1
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3. Police manager decisions -What are some examples of discretion exercised by police leaders? B. 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 -PR 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 2
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-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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Lecture 16- Police Discretion - Lecture 16- Police...

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