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Criminal Justice: Police Discretion

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Criminal Justice: Police Discretion
Criminal Justice A student ride-along allows the student to observe the use of discretion and techniques that are used by the police officers who patrol our communities. Many people falsely believe that policing is what they see portrayed in the media. We never realize that there is much more to police work then what we consider entertaining or even amusing. By watching a patrol officer in the field, I was able to gain valuable insights into questions concerning why police officers stop certain individuals, why some individuals are taken into custody while others are not, and lastly how the discretion of an officer affects how they perform their jobs. I will discuss these three questions while using three separate situations that …show more content…
He pulled over two vehicles and questioned the drivers. Officers are often faced with situations that call upon the police officers discretion. According to Schmalleger (2012) police discretion is the opportunity of law enforcement officers to exercise choice in their daily activities. Some influences on an officer’s discretion might include lifestyle choices, the attitude of the community, previous life experience, values and beliefs. (Schmalleger, 2012) The laws and regulations that form our criminal justice system account for most of the issues that an officer of the law faces in the field but often they are faced with situations that require that he or she make a judgment call to control and resolve issues. (Hurt, 1994) Police discretion is present in almost every aspect of the system and can be seen in the many options available to officer in cases that vary from very minor offences to violent crimes. The action that the officer takes can also be determined by the circumstances surrounding the situation. In the end no one was detained and no tickets were given out to the drivers of the vehicles. I understood why the officer ran several vehicles license plates and then pulled them over to question some of the drivers. As a police officer you would never be able to tell when the plate that you put in the system to check will pull up a warrant for …show more content…
Everything that law enforcement officers do is to protect individuals as well as communities from violence and injury whether it is intentional or not. They help keep the peace, maintain order, and keep chaos from taking over the city streets. I was also able to find answers to the questions concerning why police stop certain individuals, why some individuals are arrested and lastly how discretion affects the officer’s

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