Police discretion

Discretion of police is a tool they use that provides them with the capacity and ability of applying the laws of the land to the latter as opposed to enforcing the latter to the law. There are some people who argue that latitude in making of decisions by the frontier staff is a major way of describing the human service institutes characteristics. Discretion mainly involves making the best and right decisions on the basis of the prevailing circumstances and the situation input the police officer is surrounded with. The regulations and the laws established under police discretion in the US do not put into consideration the nature of human beings thus giving some room for abuse of such discretion by some officers. However, police officers have over the years proved prudent in the application of the discretion powers given to them and hence discretion in the US should not be curtailed (Scott, 2010).

Police discretion
The discretion of the police is a very crucial component in the functions they carryout while on duty. On a daily basis, police are faced with decisions regarding arresting people, releasing them before taking them to court or police stations with simply a verbal warning or citation. The discretion of the police has a lot of power, and it is notable that despite the fact that there are a few incidences of abuse of this power, most officers rarely abuse it. In virtually all instances, power is accompanied by responsibility and the power of the police discretion is no different. In order for them to be in a good position of exercising the power of discretion, it is very important for the officers to have adequate knowledge of the law. The officers must be in a position of establishing whether the crime which has been committed by an individual is a felony or a misdemeanor, they can only know this through proper knowledge of the law elements which has been broken. The training of the police officers in the US, together with various upgrading programs enables them to acquire ample knowledge in the field of law and hence they are in a position of applying discretion in the right manner. Their discretion should therefore not be curtailed as it serves a very crucial purpose, instead their training should be upgraded in order to enable them apply it even more effectively in future (Urbonya, 2003).
Police officers have to know the significant case laws, like Miranda warning and Terry frisk and so forth. Making a choice of whether to give court summons or to arrest should remain at the discretion of the police. If officers were compelled to only arrest and never give court summons to crime suspects, then numerous unnecessary arrests that would be made by officers would be overwhelming thereby increasing not just their work but indeed the entire judicial system. It is very important for the police to be allowed to have some discretion and hence give them a chance of making reasonable decisions based on the prevailing circumstances (Moody  Musheno, 2000).

Police discretion is inevitable and every officer has to face it on a daily basis in the course of his or her duty. It is in fact one of the most essential tools they have that enables to carry out their duty with considerable effectiveness. Police discretion basically enables a police officer to make a reasonable decision that is objective on whether to arrest someone or not. Despite the fact that discretion is not well defined and thus gives a police officer the freedom of making a decision on whether or not to make an arrest, most police officers make good decisions when arresting a wrongdoer. By giving the officers the discretion of making verbal warning to individuals who have committed a petty offence for the first time, deters such a person from repeating such offences and thus prevents them from committing more serious crimes in the future (Moody  Musheno, 2000). 

In traffic violations where a driver fails to stop at when necessary such as when the red light appears, the officer should have the discretion of either arresting the driver or releasing him or her. It is possible for the driver to fail to stop because he or she has accidentally missed the red sign, or is not conversant with the road. If the police officer verifies such and does not detect any use of narcotics or alcohol by the driver, he can opt to release such a driver but only warn him or her. In this case, police discretion is applied effectively and without it, police officers might be compelled to make several unnecessary arrests. The discretion of the police should therefore not be curtailed as it will add no value to their work, in fact by curtailing it will make it even more ineffective (Scott, 2010). 

The discretion of the police mainly involves the making of decisions and choices by police officers in order to achieve their institutional goals. Police officers have the obligation of enforcing the laws of the land and hence ensure that neighborhoods are secure and safe. It would however be very difficult for the police officers to be in a position of carrying out their duties effectively and diligently without the discretion power. Denying police the use of discretion power would basically make them more of machines than human beings and therefore carry out their duties mechanically. Police discretion should therefore not be curtailed since it is more of a blessing than a curse, it should in fact be enhanced.


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