This alternative essentially redistributes some of the power within the department in order to facilitate more successful service in individual communities. This clearly makes discretion appropriate based on the individual needs of the community. Police Chiefs need to develop "new concepts to better satisfy the demands and needs of the citizens they serve," and as such, may have to use discretion in how the approach and interact with unique communities as they encounter them (Meese, 1993, p 1). Discretion on behalf of a police chief allows for greater success in implementing community policing methods. Police Chief Thorton recognized the absurdity of sticking so close to procedures those only seem to hurt the efficiency and image of the police department. Instead of demanding her officers to follow such restricting protocol all the time in the field, she made the administrative decision based on her own discretion to further empower the skill and knowledge of the police on her force to use common sense in each individual situation they came across. As such, it was an appropriate move for Police Chief Thorton to adviser her officers to increase their use of discretion and common sense when in the field because it will ultimately serve to empower the department and make field officers more efficient in protecting and serving their community.
Police chiefs also find themselves using various types of administrative discretion as well in regards to how they operate their police department and the officers in the field under them. A police chief's administrative discretion could even influence the discretionary actions of other officers in the field. For example, in 2010, a police chief in the UK made an administrative discretion by asking officers underneath her to follow their own common sense when engaging with the community. According to a 2010 report, one police chief in Thames Valley made a discretionary choice regarding how she asked her officers to behave while working in the precinct. Police Chief Constable Sara Thorton "said there was too much government guidance for officers who were not allowed to use their discretion" (Daily Mail Reporter, 2010). The precinct had been inundated by internal operations that were continuing to complicate police procedures in the field. Essentially, more and more complex regulations were being established, which were acting negatively to restrict what officers in the field could do in regards to the unique nature of each case and situation they were experiencing. Police Chief Thorton could have asked her officers to stick to protocol, and despite lengthy paperwork and complicated restrictions, demand that her officers followed all the new complicated procedures to the tee. This would have been essentially following the protocol. Yet, this protocol was getting so complex, it was spiraling out of hand. According to her statement, "because we deal with a lot of high-risk situations, the response over the last ten years has been to write more and more guidance for officers so there are more and more rules" (Daily Mail Reporter, 2010). Over 52 new guidelines were instituted for Thames Valley police officers in 2009 alone. Yet, this has only backfired in regards to the efficiency and productivity of the Thames Valley Police Department. When police officers were following complicated procedures exactly, the precinct was generating a number of cases that could not stand up in court. Moreover, police officers were constantly second guessing themselves and their actions in fear of internal investigations for breaking with unnecessary and complicated protocol. This was generating a situation that made the ...
Overall, it is clear that when a police chief uses discretion, it has an impact on the rest of the department. Police chiefs can use discretionary actions in order to influence the organizational structure and individual officer performance. Doing so often requires going beyond protocol, but often leads to more successful law enforcement strategies in an increasingly complex contemporary environment.
Daily Mail Reporter. (2010). Police chief tells officers: Don't follow the rules…use your common sense! Mail Online. Web. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1297074/Police-chief-tells-officers-Dont-follow-rules -- use-common-sense.html
Diamond, Drew & Mead Weiss, Deirdre. (2005). Community Policing: Looking to Tomorrow. U.S. Department of Justice. Web. http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Publications/e050920207-CommPolicing_Looking2Tomorrow.pdf
Fridell, Lorie & Wycott, Mary Ann. (2004). Community Policing: The Past, Present, and Future. Police Executive Research Forum.
Kelling, George L. (1999). Broken Windows and Police Discretion: National Institute of Justice Research Report. U.S. Department of Justice. Web. http://petermoskos.com/readings/Kelling_1999-Broken_Windows_and_police_discretion.pdf
Meese, Edwin. (1993). Community policing and the police officer. Perspectives on Policing. No. 15. U.S. Department of Justice. Web. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/139164.pdf
Nila. Michael J. (2012). Educating the 21st century cop developing blue courage and practical wisdom. Police Chief: The Professional Voice of Law Enforcement. Web. http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=2802&issue_id=112012
Stevens, M. (2004). Police discretion. Military Law Associates. California State University Fresno. Web. http://faculty.ncwc.edu/mstevens/205/205lect09.htm
Police Chief Thorton recognized the absurdity of sticking so close to procedures those only seem to hurt the efficiency and image of the police department. Instead of demanding her officers to follow such restricting protocol all the time in the field, she made the administrative decision based on her own discretion to further empower the skill and knowledge of the police on her force to use common sense in each individual situation they came across. As such, it was an appropriate move for Police Chief Thorton to adviser her officers to increase their use of discretion and common sense when in the field because it will ultimately serve to empower the department and make field officers more efficient in protecting and serving their community.
Discretionary Situations for a Police Chief Discretion in the Police Department Discretionary Situations in Criminal Arrests: "Stop" and "Frisk," Racial Profiling The expectation is that public administrators apply a balancing act in the decision making process. Focus for this study is on law enforcement administrators, especially police chiefs, on their responses to their officers' discretion to criminal arrests. The argument put forth is that police discretion is limited by managerial and information technology
Disadvantages of police discretion The blanket use of discretion can result in repressive tactics being utilized against suspected criminals. If the police department refrains from guiding and controlling the use of this authority, abuses as well as extreme disparities can occur. Where, various individuals could become corrupted from the large amounts of authority they are given. As they could begin seeking out special favors (bribes / kickbacks) or they could use
Police Intelligence: Rapidly Changing the Way Police Organizations Fight Crime Since the professional era of policing, the traditional role of the police officer in the United States has primarily been that of crime fighter. Law enforcement officers detect and arrest offenders to keep the public safe and until relatively recently, the job was pretty straightforward. The officer would walk his beat, talking to the community and acting to reassure them. If
Therefore, it does not seem logical that a police department could exist without at least some form of discretionary decision-making. Discretion is used at just about every level of a police department, from the officers on patrol to detectives and even management. Another expert notes, "Police encounter a wide range of behaviors and a variety of situations that the law hasn't even thought about yet. One of the most amazing
Many times, police officers are attacked or the prisoners themselves are injured during this booking process. The deaths and injuries, specifically of prisoners belonging to ethnic minorities, have triggered conflicts between the police and the community in recent years. Studies showed that the separation of the arresting officer and the suspect appeared to lessen the rate of reoccurrence. The studies recommended an evaluation of procedures and reinforcement (Community Relations
(1990) Municipal Government Involvement in Crime Prevention in Canada. This work provides insight into the way that municipal government interacts with the police in the organization of crime prevention structures and the delivery of crime prevention services and activities. (Hastings, 1990, p. 108) The idea of municipal government interaction in crime prevention is shown to have been spurred on in Canada by "....the successes of locally organized and community-based initiatives