Police Discretion Research Paper

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Police discretion is the decision making power officers have that allow them to determine whether or not to pursue police procedure or allow civilians to go free with simply a warning. During a traffic stop for example officers are permitted to either give the citation or a warning to drivers. This also happens when an officer stops a person on the street for disorderly behavior the officer decides if a warning, ticket or arrest is warranted. In New York City disorderly conduct is a frequently charged violation however; officers do have authority to use discretion and give citations or warnings instead of arrest. New York City has a policy called stop, question and frisk where officers are allowed to stop civilians, question and frisk them…show more content…
Police discretion is used commonly for incidents such as domestic violence, potential hate crimes and crimes involving the mentally ill population. In domestic violence incidents where there is no visible physical injury to either party, officers must use their professional judgment to ascertain the best course of action to take. Each day officers face numerous situations that vary by type, nature and people involved. Every situation encountered should be viewed from a logical and fair point with safety in mind. The continuum of the criminal justice system begins with police officers and police officers apply a great quantity of discretion that comes with their job to protect the community. There are many elements, some of which probably should not be present, which might influence police discretion such as age, ethnicity, race, gender and the seriousness of the crime. Discretion allows officers the ability to use different methods with minor offenses and officers are encouraged to use their discretion when necessary. Offenses involving the disruption of public order are more often cited as discretionary decisions for officers (Kelling, 1999). Consider this example; a

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