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Discretion of Police

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Throughout their daily practice, police officers find themselves surrounded by dilemmas and situations which require sober and sound judgment. This mostly occurs in the absence of any form of supervision from senior officers and may be a challenge in cases where the officer is unable to make a decision. This falls under police discretion which has advantages and disadvantages. Discretion simply refers to actions taken by criminal justice officers based on personal judgment depicting the best and reasonable course of action (North Carolina Wesleyan College, 2004). It may entail an officer imposing a legal sanction say, giving a ticket, arresting or stop a traffic offender. Another form of discretion occurs when an officer is required to distribute time among duties. Lastly, officers are expected to decide on whether to use force or not in handling criminals. Discretion may lead to negative image and hatred from the public especially in cases where there exists no consensus on how to define and measure criminal behavior (North Carolina Wesleyan College, 2004).


Handling of family members and other related people also posses a major challenge to countless officers within the criminal justice system. How should police officers deal with their family members found breaking state laws? This definitely calls for sound judgments from the police officer considering the negative and positive implications of discretion. It is important for police officers to appreciate that every citizen is always under the law regardless of their relationships with law enforcing officers. In this dilemma where the officers’ mother is found driving recklessly while drunk, the officer should take the best course of action buy allowing criminal law to overrule their blood relationship. This would guard the image of the police through public eyes and ensure that everybody receives fair treatment when found on the wrong side of the law (North Carolina Wesleyan College, 2004).

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