Why Do Police Use Force Discretion?

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Police work is unpredictable and is very dangerous. In some situations, officers may have to utilize use-of-force tactics in order to gain control of a certain situation. This essay will focus on the discussion of polices discretion to use force limited to a suspect who is being “uncooperative” and what mitigating factors may escalate or de-escalate force response by an officer.
Written guidelines have the effect to limit the amount of discretion that an officer might use during stressful and dangerous situations in which they find themselves. Although discretion is very important to an officer, it is influenced by different factors. One factor in particular, individual characteristics of the suspect, will set the stage to successfully detain a suspect with little to no injury. Other factors, like the law, and department policy, are implied guidelines and these factors should not be ignored. After the officer has made the decision to pull the vehicle over, the officer should begin to risk assess the situation. This standard of care will ensure that the officer and …show more content…

Location of the pull-over is key to minimize hazards of the roadway. Direct the vehicle to pull over in a safe manner and out of the way of any potential hazards, like the flow of traffic. Note any hazards like intersections, alleys, terrain, and lighting. The environment also creates hazards, like the weather. Officers should evaluate the weather conditions and use discretion during inclement weather. The last risk to assess is the vehicle and its’ occupants. This is where the officer will characterize the suspect. San Antonio’s Traffic Law Enforcement Manual uses a seven step violator contact method “to ensure that officers take proper

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