The police. Twenty-four hours a day, three hundred sixty-five days a year, this division of our government has a mandate to enforce the criminal law and preserve public peace. Understood in this mandate is an obligation to police everyday life matters that originate in the daily lives and activities of citizens within their community. Police interact in some form with the average citizen more often than any other government official. In society today the police play a key role in maintaining a civil society. This role assumes a substantial amount of power and authority over the general public. With power comes corruption and/or misuse of power. The question that is presented is, how and why do the police exceed the parameters of their power and authority?
This is an issue that is predominant in urban settings, but not exclusive to these settings. This is an important issue because it effects all people.
The police is a government service to all people, but all people do not feel they are being serviced. Not everyone is satisfied with the conduct of the police. Why do people feel that police are crossing boundaries that they should not be? This will be observed from four different aspects in which police are capable of exceeding the parameters of their power and authority: police and use of discretionary enforcement, "Police justice", police harassment, and the unwarranted use of police authority.
Police are allowed to and must use personal discretion in their determination of law enforcement. Unlike a judge or lawyer a police officer can not gather information and take time to make a prognosis to make a decision affecting the fate of a person. He must make a quick decision based on his discretion to determine the fate of a person.. "...a quick decision is...