and Ethical Decisions week 2 discussion 2 (Dav)
You are a patrol sergeant lecturing to a college class about the patrol
function. Someone raises her hand and asks, “Sergeant, your officers obviously
can’t enforce all of the laws all of the time. Which laws are always enforced,
and which ones are not? What factors determine how police discretion is
used?” The concepts of police discretion and ethics are obviously intertwined
because all ethical dilemmas involve making a choice. How would you respond
(without saying something like “We enforce all of the laws, all of the time,”
which of course would be untrue)? How would you fully explain police discretion
to the citizens’ group? How do you explain the fostering of good ethical
decision making and discretion? How do you explain which laws are enforced
first and the discretion involved in that ethical decision making?
Our discussion first individuals
response need bad and good of pot list reference
he first step that should be
identified is the possibility of serving the greater good (Arrigo &
Williams, 2012) in law enforcement. When an officer observes an elderly
lady travelling to the grocery store with a burned out taillight and a known
criminal driving a vehicle who is known to not have a license, which person
should the officer stop? Both are violations of the law, but does one
serve the greater good?
One may argue that the officer
should stop the criminal and make an arrest because for his greater
violation. But, what if the elderly lady is struck and killed in a car
accident because her taillight did not signal her turn? Did we serve the
greater good in any form? The officer is faced with this decision on most
days as they complete traffic stops and make choices about what type of
enforcement activity they should be engaged in.
Discretion is the ability to make a
decision in a moment when several options may provide differing
results (Peak, 2012), many of which are positive. Ultimately the
proper decision will bring about the most good for the most people. Law
enforcement is often seen as decisions that are black and white, while really
the grey predominates. The city should be reviewed and problems
identified that need addressing. When these problems are encountered the
police officer should make the decision that promotes the program to reduce the
identified problems. This is an aspect of community policing that can
result in positive policing and positive community interaction.
To speak in particular rather than
generalities, there are certain laws that must be enforced when encountered by
police. DUI’s, Domestic Violence Incidents, and Child Abuse cases require
enforcement and reporting actions that dictate what the officer must
do (Colorado District Attorney's Council, 2013). But, when examined
closely, there is still room for discretion based on the elements of the case.
When an officer examines a situation
and is faced with an ethical decision regarding the proper actions to take,
they must be ready to adapt as the information continues to arrive. The
officer must first provide safety to those involved, prevent injury, preserve
evidence, and preserve the integrity of witnesses. The decisions made
every day by officers reflect the department and therefore must be based on
knowledge and experience gained in their career (Gaines & Worrall,
2012). The training issues for the department again become a concern and
ethical decision making should be of high importance in the training
program. These should be founded on the direction of community policing
in an effort to resolve community addressed problems and be seen as decisions
for the greater good.
B. A., & Williams, C. R. (2012). Ethics, Crime, and Criminal Justice
(2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
District Attorney's Council. (2013). Colorado Revised Statutes. Denver:
L. K., & Worrall, J. L. (2012). Police Administration (3 ed.). (L.
Main, Ed.) Clifton Park, New York: Delmar Cengage Learning.
K. J. (2012). Policing America: Challenges and Best Practices. Upper
Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc