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Police discretion


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Police discretion

  1. 1. Police DiscretionSaint Leo University Center for Online LearningLaura BaldwinAugust 22, 2010Survey of Criminal Justice CRM-220-CL01Instructor:  Beth Barker<br />Table of Contents TOC o " 1-3" h z u I.Introduction PAGEREF _Toc215833071 h 3II.Materials4IV.Data and Observations5VII.Conclusion6-7<br />I.<br />POLICE USE OF DISCRETION<br />“Many police activities the use of force to control social relations; lying and deception to carry out undercover work or engage in controlled drug buys violate conventional societal norms yet are necessary to satisfy public demands for order, safety and wellbeing.<br />In short, the police must balance legitimate yet conflicting values and rights;<br />Demands for effectiveness with protection of individual rights; The maintenance of public<br />Order without unduly restricting liberty; The need to threaten or use force without<br />Deviating into abuse; And guidance by law and professional expertise simultaneously.<br />Training seeks to give them the intellectual and practical tools to make proper balancing Decision. It is one of the great paradoxes that police training in the United States does<br />Not address the question of democracy directly. There are no courses which discuss the<br />Nature of democratic policing in general or provide a justification for policing by linking<br />The capacity for force and discretion to discussions of human rights, dignity or<br />Democratic values. It is assumed that teaching effective policing, when supported by a<br />Strong, rule governed police organization, will result in democratic policing, largely by<br />Shaping and enforcing a democratic police culture.”<br />II<br /><ul><li>Syllabus for JUS 205 (2004). Police Discretion. Areas of Discretion. Retrieved Aug. 22, 2010,
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  3. 3. Syllabus for JUS 205 (2004). Police Discretion. Policy Alternatives. Retrieved Aug. 22, 2010,
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  5. 5. (By Marinen, O. [1997, November]. “Police Training in a Democracy,” para. 2 & 22. USIS: </li></ul>Issues of Page 2 of 3Democracy. Retrieved September 4, 2006, from<br /><ul><li>Jay Morrisey Online (2008) Art of Verbal Intimidation: learn it and fight back! Retrieved August</li></ul> 22, 2010, from<br />IV<br />My thoughts on the police use of discretion are that sometimes in cases, such as domestic violence, it is not often used properly. Too many times the woman is blamed for what may have caused the situation and the police officer may be reluctant to take the bread winner from the house. There are many cases where the male head of the household is a prominate member of the community and therefore the officer or officers may not want to be the ones to take that person in. Often times a female victim may be considered uncooperative once the police arrive. Also, if a police officer is new to an agency they may not fully understand the full dynamics of the family. Having been a victim myself in the past I understand that there may be different types of domestic issues and that not all cases are the same.<br />In trying to understand where the police are coming from you have to get as close to them as possible. I was unable to get into their agency as an employee, even though I actually consider it still, but I did have a unusual opportunity to play the role of an incarcerated inmate though a serious of unfortunate events. I was able to learn though college that my place in the system was a crucial part of how being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be distinctly viewed in the public eye as real. Knowing full well I would be unable to obtain legal representation after enduring what I now know was police abuse of power and control I continued to endure what may be the answer to what many professionals have wondered in the past. How on earth does a victim of violence and abuse end up in a place deemed suitable only for the severely violent or mentally unstable?<br />After years of trying to rid myself of the people of law enforcement that felt it necessary to control me and to keep me quiet I finally decided to take a step back. I have decided to not only remove myself from further abuse but have also decided to give up any contact I may have in the future with those particular officers. I wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors, whatever they may be. I only hope that their future has a brighter outlook and that maybe perhaps I have let them in on a little secret of my own. That I am not as vulnerable as I might seem all the time and that whatever my abuser took from me was perhaps necessary for my survival. What seemed to be left in tack was an unknown talent that I have to be cunning and quick thinking on my feet. Perhaps a part of me will always relate to understanding their need to lie and be brutal in their investigations.<br />There are some policies that will address unique situations relating to the complexity of domestic violence or other unusual circumstances they are as follows; <br />(1) Restrictive policies -- these tend to be big rule books that specify as many situations as possible and contain severe restrictions on officer judgment. <br />(2) Discouragement policies -- these tend to only list the most extreme and critical situations an officer will face.<br />(3) Judgmental policies -- these tend to only give general guidance that is generic to all circumstances. Ironically, it's the kind of policy that's easiest to get terminated under from the officer's point of view.<br />My only solution for this paradox would be that victims need to be heard and taken care of by law enforcement after the fact. Law enforcement needs to have the proper referral resources that are current. Sometimes just a phone number at the scene is enough to help the victim. The officer may even have to help them dial the phone or make sure an advocate is on call. The voices of the witnesses and victims of domestic calls often fall on deaf ears. Sometimes these are the only witness to a crime and if not handled properly from the very beginning it could mean the failure of an entire investigation that is related somehow. <br />I also feel that perhaps the witness protection program is wasted on other criminals when more money should go into protecting the innocent victims, even if it is only for a short safe haven. I believe the witnesses are the ones that deserve the most admiration in domestic cases. Often times it is the child that may have seen something or overheard the conversation between the victim and the abuser. The child could be fearful to admit what their parent has done to hurt their family. There is not enough protection to make these witnesses feel safe. It is up to law enforcement to act accordingly in public to ensure that those children will feel safe. Protective services do not often do enough to ensure that a family stays safe either. I feel that not enough time or money goes into rehabilitating the victim of domestic crimes.<br />In conclusion I feel that although it is at the police officers discretion how to handle their witness and follow up with their victims when required to do so, I think it would be easy for a person in law enforcement to forget how intimidating they still might be to the victim when others in criminal investigation have left the victim in the past feel frightened and confused. I do still not want to ruffle too many feathers as I fear that I may have to face repercussions for the things I might say. This is from the point of view of a victim that has been victimized over and over again by her abuser over the course of about ten years.<br />