As a rule, exercising discretion means weighing all the pros and cons, making logical judgments, and drawing specific conclusions. In general, this process implies a case in which an individual has the right to choose, regardless of the views of management or higher authorities (FLSA overtime security advisor, n.d.). In addition, this aspect plays one of the most critical roles in criminal justice since many factors and phenomena depend on an employee’s decision. For example, based on the case, my action as a patrol officer can lead either to a personal tragedy for the citizens or mitigate the conflict through a warning.
The Main Concepts
One should emphasize that integrity and morality are the most important concepts within discretionary decision-making. For instance, these concepts determine the manifestation of a patrol officer’s demeanor in accordance with the totality of generally accepted values and norms of behavior in society. It is not recommended to forget about authority and discretionary powers in this context. These aspects ensure the right to make an official choice and make the “right” decision in terms of existing laws, the experience and professionalism of a specialist.
Integrity, authority, and discretionary powers have a solid and deep connection, periodically interchanging and complementing each other. Having power, control, and the right to choose, the representative of the law is also obliged to follow the code of honor, moral principles, and ethical standards governing balance and order in society. In contrast, the absence of clear moral guidelines cannot guarantee law enforcement and public safety through power.
As practice shows, the main difference between ethics and morality is that ethics is relatively homogeneous, while morality is strongly influenced by culture and religion. Morality is the principle on which judgments about good and evil are based, while ethics is the guiding principle of the behavior of a person or group. In simple terms, when making discretionary decisions, ethics allows one to define the boundaries of “bad” and “good,” and morality correlates personal views with generally accepted values to ensure people’s trust.
Based on the provided scenario and the discretionary dilemma, I made the second decision – “issue a warning to the male driver and get medical personnel to address the female passenger.” Primarily, this choice was made based on my moral, ethical, and honorable guidelines, as well as norms, rules, and standards adopted in the society of the country in which I live. Moreover, I made a detailed comparative analysis in my head and chose the “lesser of evils” that would benefit me, my superiors, and the passengers.
For instance, selecting the first alternative would mean a contradiction between the moral aspects and the laws’ functions. Indeed, there was a particular risk that the driver could run over a person. Fortunately, this moment did not happen, and I would like to believe it will not occur in the future. In addition, the third choice looks relatively “painless,” but a fine could only inflame the situation and spoil the joy of such an important event as the birth of a child. On the contrary, inaction to violations of the rules could mean repeated disregard of the U.S. laws in the future. In short, the driver would have learned that running a red light at high speed is a norm that is not stopped in any way.
The Choice I Made
According to the information in the scenario, I would like to note that honesty, fairness, integrity, and virtue played a dominant role in my choice. In my opinion, an officer has to take care of people, relying primarily on humanity and only then on documented norms. Furthermore, I was also helped by an authority in these circumstances, which allowed me to act confidently, competently, and clearly, believing in myself, my strength, and the ability to do a good deed within the law. Accordingly, discretionary power only strengthened my authority and gave me the advantage to make a decision freely, without any control and supervision from the authorities.
Furthermore, both ethics and morality directly influenced my decision and vision of the situation. On the one hand, my personal experience, personality, nature, character, and temperament determined the subjective understanding of good and evil, beautiful and ugly, truth and lies, on the basis of which I decided to give young people a warning. On the other hand, morality additionally emphasized the above-mentioned ethical aspects due to my idea of “correct behavior” in society and the actions allowed by the community.
Decisions in Law Enforcement
One should emphasize that the Court will respond to the case following the individual circumstances, the nature of the crime committed, and the severity of its consequences for society. In my opinion, the birth of a child is more than an objective reason for traffic violations, which causes a fair trial. Discretionary decisions that can be taken in the future concerning the man are a fine or deprivation of a driver’s license for a certain period of time. These decisions will give the “defendant” some food for thought about his actions and deeds and how driving through a red light at high speed could, for example, kill innocent citizens.
FLSA overtime security advisor. (n.d.). U.S. Department of Labor. Web.