police discretion final - 1 POLICE DISCRETION Police...

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1 POLICE DISCRETION Police Discretion La’Karia Sam March 7, 2011 Crystal Dickerson Bynum
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2 POLICE DISCRETION Introduction As a member of the police force, you will have many opportunities to make discretionary decisions yourself. Whether a foot, bike, motorcycle, or intervene in an incident, when to react to certain things, and you may not always have the guidelines of the department to follow, and in some cases you will have to use your knowledge of the law and how the local prosecutor works to make a decision that could be either right or wrong. You need to know enough information to make the right call every time, even if it is outside normal procedure. One thing officers should realize , they are representing the government and its powers; they are the legitimate power of the government that Max Weber talks about. (Seri) Such acts ignore the "political" side of policing and serving as an officer, and the increasing "gray areas" that they are asked to be able to interpret and handle. Because of this the idea of police reform constantly looks for accountability, and what become episodes of police abuse of power take place because of this "gray zone" of behavior that escapes regulation but still falls under the concept of police discretion.
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3 POLICE DISCRETION Police discretion is a common practice in everyday life. According to Gaines and Miller (2009), discretion, “can be defined as the authority to choose between and among alternative courses of action” (p. 16). Average citizens and even those in the highest positions of power utilize discretion on a daily basis. Discretion has, in fact, became an accepted practice in most areas of society. It is, for example, often employed in the business world, as employers use it to manage their workforces. What is most interesting about this practice is that it is so prevalent in most fields, yet it is hardly noticed or discussed. It is simply what people do to get through life. One area in which the practice of discretion garners attention is the police. The use of discretion amongst the police is a controversial issue because the police function differently than most of society. While the police serve many different roles and functions, their major function is the enforcement of the law. Enforcing the law, though, is a complicated task that requires an abundance of resources. In fact, it requires so much that it would be virtually impossible to enforce all laws at all times. As such, it would seem that discretion has its place in police work.
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This note was uploaded on 11/02/2011 for the course POLICING T 333 taught by Professor Crystaldickersonbynum during the Spring '11 term at University of Phoenix.

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police discretion final - 1 POLICE DISCRETION Police...

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