Criminal Justice

This paper will discuss police discretion and identity the uses of discretionary powers in the law enforcement workplace.   It will explore the mythical aspects of police discretionary powers and the source of this myth.  Furthermore it will discuss the control of discretionary authority.   It will define terms as it relates to philosophers perspective and examples of law enforcement officials using their discretionary powers to enforce laws.  

Police discretion is present in every aspect of the criminal justice system and can be seen in many cases that vary from minor offences to the actual application of the law. In cases of domestic disturbances officers are called upon to make judgments that help produce a resolution without the presences of violence. Officers can use discretion in such a situation by separating the parties involved, give suggestions to resolve the underlying issue(s), or be a mediator to produce a peaceful conclusion. The action that the officer takes can be determined by the circumstances surrounding the situation and his or her "attitude and beliefs" (Dantzker, M, 2003, ¶8). In some cases in which a violent act such as assault has occurred the law may limit the officer's ability to use discretion and require for strict compliance with policies and state laws. This is the same truth that surrounds minor misdemeanors; the circumstances determine the amount of discretion that an officer can use, if at all, and can also be determined by the wishes of the victim of the act. Minor misdemeanors differ from state to state and could include things such as a bar fight, drunkenness in public or a public place, and or loitering.

Media, Family members of the victim, family members of the suspect, fellow police officers, fearful witnesses,