Custom «Police Discretion and Its Effects on Public Perception » Essay Paper

Custom «Police Discretion and Its Effects on Public Perception » Essay Paper

Discretion can be defined as having the power or freedom to make choices from a given number of available alternatives. Police discretion is where police officers or law enforcement officials are bestowed upon the responsibility to make decisions by using their own judgment to determine an acceptable solution to offenders while in the field especially when there are no specific clear cut laws stipulated to determine the course of action to be taken by the officers. The officers are expected to make good judgment in reference to the guiding rules are regulations in trying to administer justice to petty offenders. Discretion is usually exercised in such small offences as public urination and traffic violations. A police officer for example can exercise discretion to traffic violator by letting the driver go with a warning either written or verbal instead of making an arrest. Through discretion, officers attempt to solve and quell issues at the field level but it is usually a major source of controversy and irritation between the public and the officers creating contention on the amount of discretion the officers have (Odom, 2009).

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Drunk driving today is a serious offence and it warrants tough measures. Pulling down my mother for drunk driving and dangerous driving, I have several courses of action at my discretion to take. First, I would put into consideration the rule of law and the gravity of the matter. At my discretion, without breaking the law, I would let her go with a written warning but I would not allow her to continue driving so I call up someone else and that way I save a life. The written warning would serve as a reminder always and calling up someone is because officers are not allowed to let a drunk driver continue driving. At the same time, if I know her to have committed the offence before, I would make a full arrest so that she learns from the consequences and that way I save her life and those of others in future (Odom, 2009).

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