Police Discretion Refers to Any Term Paper

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Furthermore, there is often a veil of silence from witnesses in these types of assaults, which makes investigation very difficult. However, when an officer exercises the discretion to treat these incidents as lesser-crimes, he reinforces the devaluation of the gang members and actually increases the validity of the gang culture. Furthermore, gang violence does not occur in isolation, and it is unfair to the non-criminal members of gang-afflicted communities for officers to fail to fully investigate such crimes.

One crime where officers, at least initial responders, should not be permitted to exercise any discretion is in the area of child abuse. Child abuse is a serious crime, but there is a tendency for adults to minimize complaints by children. Because the stakes are so tremendously high if the complaint is correct, officers should be required to respond to all reports of child abuse as true and zealously investigate them. If an investigation fails to yield sufficient evidence to support prosecution, then the alleged offender will not face prosecution; but that decision does not reflect the improper use of discretion, but the proper use of investigation in the criminal process.

Not all crimes where officers are called upon to exercise discretion are serious offenses. On the contrary, the area where officers are called upon to exercise the most discretion is relatively benign and involves traffic offenses.
Officers should be permitted to exercise discretion in traffic scenarios, because the traffic codes simply cannot anticipate all of the real-life situations faced by a driver. For example, when all of the surrounding traffic is exceeding the speed limit by 10-15 miles per hour, a driver who maintains the legal speed may actually be placing himself in great danger. To give that driver a ticket for driving with the speed of traffic would ignore that reality.

However, there are certain traffic offenses that are never justifiable, such as driving while intoxicated. A driver who knowingly places himself in a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs places every driver on the road in tremendous jeopardy. Although most officers can probably sympathize with someone who gets behind the wheel after having had a few-too-many, the fact is that the vast majority of drunken drivers are never apprehended. Only by rigorous and zealous enforcement of DUI laws can the police send a message that drunk driving will not be tolerated, which may have a positive impact on drunk-driving rates among casual drinkers and drug users......

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