Essay On Police Discretion

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Police discretion is the freedom given to police officers to decide or make decisions related to the performance of their duties. The performance of police functions, especially in relation to law enforcement, requires some discretion. Police should be allowed to exercise discretionary powers in minor cases where the offenses are not serious. The police officers are to take into consideration the facts surrounding the situation and come up with an appropriate decision. However, the use of such discretionary powers should be limited to avoid occurrence of preferential treatment. The use of these powers should only be limited to minor offenses where the burden of enforcing the law is not appropriate to the situation. The particular offenses where police discretion is appropriate include minor traffic offenses, minor cases involving juveniles, domestic situations and minor drug offenses (Tilley, and Charles 172). An example of where discretionary police power can
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In such cases, the police exercise discretion on what constitutes violation of the law, when and how to enforce such laws. In the case provide above the police did not exercise discretion but accorded preferential treatment for a certain member of the community. Discretion arises when the police officer decides not to enforce certain violations based on the nature of the offence but preferential treatment arises when there are multiple offenses and the police enforce the law for a minor offense and overlook other multiple violations. The outcome would have been different if the individual pulled over by the police for the investigative stop as black. It is likely that in this case the individual would have been cited for all the violations. Police education is important in providing training to police officers on the proper use of discretionary powers (Hendricks, and

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