Discretion and Ethical Decisions discussion

Category: Law

 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? 

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