Discretion 2 Essay

Submitted By bird2013
Words: 537
Pages: 3

Discretion is very important when it comes down to enforcing the law (police officer). Police discretion benefits the overall police function in support of the community goals because it is responsive to the needs of the environments in which police responsibilities function. It provides for the quick, sometimes split second, decision-making process that is involved. It allows for a certain amount of vagueness the law, thereby allowing officers to deal with marginal situations as best meets immediate needs of the situation. It also serves to reduce the number of resources necessary to provide a workable criminal justice system. This benefit exists so long as the use of discretion does not become uncontrolled. The uncontrolled use of discretion is likely to lead to the infringement of important individual rights protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States and the various States. The relationship between the police and community is thereby harmed. The best methods of controlling discretion are found in the establishment of policies and procedures and the enactment of laws that put reasonable restraints on the use of discretion. Discretion should not, in fact, cannot, be eliminated for many of the reasons cited as benefits of police discretion. Further, human nature itself the personalities and characteristics of officers and their supervisors will stand in the way of complete control of discretion.
Police officers are faced each day with a vast array of situations with which they must deal. An officer on patrol (i.e., not responding to a call), sees a stranded motorist. Stopping to assist the motorist would be a service duty. The officer can exercise discretion by deciding whether or not to stop to assist, the amount of time spent in assisting, or the nature of the assistance. 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…