The Need For Better Supervision Of Police Discretion

1876 words - 8 pages

There are many controversial issues related to policing. One that sticks out is police discretion. Police Discretion is the exercise of individual choices or judgments that police officers have concerning possible courses of action (Cox, p. 227). Saying that police Discretion needs to be abolished is an unrealistic goal, but better supervision of patrol officers and better departments policies and procedures on the use of discretion is something that we can try to achieve. Police discretion is usually more seen in minor crimes (Ross, p. 98). Minor crimes that are included are seat belt violations, open intoxication, speeding, running a stop sign or red light, and etc. (Ross, p. 96). There are many arguments against the use of discretion in law enforcement. Officers abuse the power of police discretion which can lead to a greater threat in police corrupt. Another is that police officers also only concentrate on going after people of certain ethnicity’s or being bias about a certain crime. A final argument is that there is no uniformed manual to ensure that consistency across the board is achieved. Some people would say that there are plus sides of police discretion. One is that it allows officers the flexibility to handle each situation in a manner that best fits its individual needs. Another argument in favor is that it promotes job satisfactions. Even though there are some good sides to it, it does not out way the negatives. This paper will explain why it needs to be addressed more and show studies and examples of why.
A big argument against police discretion is that it allows officers to abuse it which can lead to a greater threat in police corrupt. Some people say that cops don’t have the slightest idea what could be the consequence of their actions (Engel). Police discretion can be a possible tool for abuse that could result in needless death and injuries. They say a cop’s choice may be influenced by personal factors arriving at a foolish decision. Police officers do use their judgments when it comes to discretion, and personal judgments can be affected by many different factors such as mental health and their educational level (Engel). There needs to be more tests done on people entering the police force to help solve this issue and have better control over it. Also, when police officers are going through the training to become a cop they need to enforce and teach police discretion and certain scenarios so that police officers are better prepared for situations and will know how to handle them. This can and will be better achieved with better policies and guidelines to help make sure that police officers are not abusing the power they have. I like to think it as how police officers get to use Tasers. Police officers have to have themselves Taser to be able to use one so they know how it feels when applying it on another person and what their limit should be for it. Well with police discretion I think during training they need to be put...

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