Policing The Duty Of The Police Essay

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Throughout the history of policing the duty of the police has varied greatly. From the early 1600 to the modern era, police agencies have shifted responsibilities from volunteering on the night watch and collecting taxes to maintaining order and enforcing the law as prescribed by the constitution. While social reform and societal needs continue to mold the future of policing, certain aspects, no matter how controversial, will continue to dominate the policing landscape. Officer discretion has been and will continue to be an important aspect of law enforcement. In the late 1950s, the American Bar Foundation officially recognized the practice of discretion in law enforcement as in integral part of the system. The recognition, not intentional, characterized the administration of justice as a series of decisions made on an offender’s behalf from the time they committed a crime to the time their punishments were ended (Samuel Walker, 1993). The use of discretion in modern policing is vastly important because it drives officers to make decisions where formal rules do not exist; additionally, discretion allows law enforcement officers, in modern policing, to operate on a level of autonomy that increases the effectiveness of order maintenance.
Though discretion was first recognized in the late 1950s, the practice has informally driven police activity since the inception of the night watch. Today, officer discretion focuses on individually judgment, in the absence of formal…

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