Police Discretion Scenarios Worksheet

Topic 5 Police Discretion Scenarios Worksheet

Instructions: Complete Parts I and II of the worksheet.

Part I: Read the scenarios below and consider the many options an officer has when responding to such situations. Research local police departmental policies regarding such things as mentioned in the scenarios (e.g., Domestic Violence, Disturbing the Peace, Profiling, etc.); things that are common problems confronting the police on a daily basis. In your responses, discuss the constitutional rights and legality behind the problems in these scenarios. Read the scenarios and respond to the prompts for each one. Defend your responses with scholarly research.

Be sure to cite three to five relevant scholarly sources in support of your content. Use only sources found at government websites or those provided in Topic Materials.

While APA style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and in-text citations and references should be presented using APA documentation guidelines.

Note: Word-counts are listed at the end of each scenario.

1) Officer Smith is responding to a call of shots fired with no further information. It is 2 a.m., and in a high-crime neighborhood. Upon arrival at the location, Officer Smith and his backup officer see several teens who see the officers and immediately start to run away. How do you react in this situation and why? (250-300 words) Include in your response:

A. The Constitutional rights and legal issues that may be involved?

B. What other factors or information might emerge that could alter the course of your action in this scenario?

2) Officer Swan is responding to a domestic violence call at a home police are called to frequently. Upon arrival, the husband and wife—who have been verbally fighting—are both clearly agitated and both want the other one arrested. There is no sign of physical injury on either party, but you know that in the past the husband has been arrested and taken into custody for physically harming his wife. For their safety (and your own personal liability) you feel they must be separated for the night but neither will leave of their own accord. How do you react in this situation and why? (250-300 words)  Include in your response:

A. The Constitutional rights and legal issues that may be involved?

B. What other factors or information might emerge that could alter the course of your action in this scenario?

3) Officer Morrison is driving around a high-crime area on routine patrol when she sees two young female teens that appear to be prostituting themselves. They don’t look familiar and don’t look like they are from this area—based on how they are dressed and other factors of appearance. Officer Morrison doesn’t know for sure if they are committing a crime but feels that something isn’t right. Are you legally justified in stopping and questioning them? Further, if you do stop to question them about their ages, can you give chase if they turn and run from you? How do you react in this situation and why? (250-300 words)  Include in your response:

A. The Constitutional rights and legal issues that may be involved?

B. What other factors or information might emerge that could alter the course of your action in this scenario?

Part II: Using your responses as examples, propose at least three strategies or departmental policies that could assist officers in their use of discretion. Support your responses with research. (300-400 words).

 

What are the four paradoxes of policing that further complicate matters of community relations? Explain which you perceive to be most problematic for police today.

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