How do you find a proper balance between that discretion and duty?

Whether you work as a law enforcement officer, probation officer, corrections officer, in a juvenile detention facility, as a school resource officer, or as a state trooper, all criminal justice professions have several things in common.

  • They all operate with some discretion left to the individual.
  • They all include the duty to enforce existing laws and to uphold the US Constitution.

The broad question we will discuss in this forum is: How do you find a proper balance between that discretion and duty?

In your initial post, please do the following:

  1. Provide an example of a situation where a CJ professional has discretion. Be sure to state the job of the CJ professional in your example, and provide enough facts to explain where the discretion comes in. For example, you might describe a situation where a state trooper pulls over a driver who is speeding and, based on the driver’s explanation, the trooper might exercise discretion to ticket, provide a warning, or do nothing.
  2. After providing your detailed example, address the duty that this CJ professional has to uphold the law and/or Constitution under these circumstances.
  3. Finally, discuss several possible outcomes for your scenario depending on the CJ professional’s exercise of discretion. Try to find some that would operate within the law and some that would perhaps be questionable.