The future of law enforcement is centered around the concept of "Community Policing". Community Policing should be thought of as more of an idea than a protocol. It is the concept of which police take on the role of a caretaker for the community. They do this in addition to traditionally fighting crime, disorder, and other negative or illegal acts. In this role of "caretaker", police will care for the community's needs and will seek out and find solutions to issues and problems existing within the community. For the past decade the community policing movement has been gaining momentum acquiring the support of politicians, scholars, reformers, and the public. Unfortunately there are problems that continually plague the philosophy of Community Policing.
One of the largest aspects to the community policing philosophy is the officer's proper and greater use of discretion. To understand police discretion, one must first look at the different situations in which an officer must exercise their decision-making abilities.
Next, an examination of the different factors that influence an officer's decisions is critical to understanding why officers make the decisions they do. Finally, one must understand the outcomes and problems that are inherent to greater police discretion. These three issues are vital components to police discretion that need to be understood in order to have a functional and beneficial community policing program.
The police force of today is charged with protecting the public's safety against those who prey upon society. They are expected to uphold the law by calming uncontrolled confrontations, resolving criminal incidents, taking offenders into custody, and investigating unsolved crimes. These duties require police officers to respond to a seemingly endless variety of situations, many of them involving unique circumstances that have not experienced before by the officer. Because of this, the police must...