Discretion In John Dempsey's An Introduction To Policing

967 Words 4 Pages
When it comes to law enforcement, officers have to make quick, often challenging decisions every day. They are forced to do what they think is right and just in accordance to the roles and duties of a police officer. The public should be able to trust that they’ll do the right thing and respond to situations appropriately. In order to do so, police must use their discretion to the best of their ability. However, it seems that more and more cases of injustice and police brutality are coming to light around the country. Officers have been caught using their discretion in uncontrolled manners. In certain situations, it meant life or death. Either way it goes, their discretion should be justified.
In John Dempsey’s An Introduction to Policing,
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In August of this year, dash-cam video of a police officer from Euclid, Ohio went viral because he was shown using excessive force and beating a man during a routine traffic stop (Hawkins, 2017). In the video, he asks the driver to step out of the vehicle. Seconds later, the officer is shown pushing him and wrestling him to the ground where he then threw punches. The driver didn’t appear to threaten the officer in any way yet the cop used excessive force when it didn’t seem to be needed. The question then is, why did his discretionary judgment lead him to act that way in the first place? It’s possible that the officer had a prejudice against the driver. It’s also possible that he could’ve just been having a bad day and acted out inappropriately. But based on the video evidence, neither of those reasons justify the way he acted. It doesn’t make it right. And when similar situations are occurring across the country, ethics and discretionary judgement need to be justified. In addition, the officer has a history of violence and other suspicious acts that would make anyone question his motives and ability perform his job properly. If an officer’s discretionary judgement can’t be justified, he can’t properly and fairly perform his job as a law …show more content…
In June of this year, a man in Thailand walked into a police station wielding a knife and causing a threat. Instead of pulling his weapon, an officer simply talked to the man who was clearly in distress. He used his discretion to the best of his ability and deescalated the situation. The man put the knife down and hugged the officer. Instead of forcing a violent and potentially deadly situation, the officer used his discretion to make what he thought was the best judgement. Although he could’ve been killed, he put his life in danger to reach the best possible outcome. He proved that he can be reliable and trustworthy in tense circumstances, especially when it meant life or death.
In conclusion, enforcers of the law need to use their discretion in an appropriate manner so that the public can trust them and have fair protection under the law. The process of becoming an officer should be carefully examined for each person so that each one can enforce the equally to everyone. Having discretion is a powerful responsibility and when it’s not used correctly, chaos like what’s going on around the country will continue and issues with injustice and police brutality won’t

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