The Importance Of Police Discretion

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A police officer possesses the authority to carry a firearm, detain individuals and make arrests within their jurisdiction. They are expected to conduct their duties safely and in a professional manner while remaining impartial. Police officers are trusted to safely utilize their firearm when necessary in the performance of their official duties. They must be self-disciplined, maintain a high standard of personal and professional ethics, be proficient in their duties and knowledgeable of laws and policies including the use of force. In some cases, officers might find themselves in an ethical dilemma involving the ethical use of excessive force. Department policies must be implemented to minimize these cases without impeding an officer’s discretionary authority. For those reasons, police officers are held to a higher standard of morals and ethics than most other professions. …show more content…
Peak (2012) defines ethics as doing what is right or correct, generally referring to how people should behave in a professional capacity. Peak (2012) also states the primary purpose of ethics is guidance and to “answer questions that might otherwise go unanswered.” A police officer must also possess the ability to remain calm in high stress situations so they can focus on making discretionary decisions. Discretionary decisions can range from whether to issue a citation or a warning for a minor traffic offence to whether to use force and the amount. Ethics and discretion are two vital characteristics in law enforcement. Officers are often faced with stressful and sometimes life threatening situations where a split-second decision needs to be made based solely on the information they have for that specific situation at that very moment. Ethics is what will help guide officers to their ultimate

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