My personal approach in addressing police corruption is to focus on good decision making. There is a significant amount of training around discretion during academy, throughout on-the-job Field Training (typically about 12 months), and through annual or regular in-service training.
What does training on police discretion look like?
A search of the Internet can show a variety of curriculum, but, for example, California POST Basic Training curriculum worksheets are available for general public view through the below link. Clicking on the specific training title pulls up the worksheets.
Within each of these trainings is an aspect of discretion and appropriate laws, rules, and procedures to apply in making decisions as to whether there is a violation.
Beyond academy, the Field Training Program provides one-on-one supervision by a Field Training Officer (FTO) who is specially trained to provide on-the-spot guidance regarding decisions that are made in the field. Obviously, after an Officer has graduated from the FTO Program, not all decisions will have that direct supervision. However, if there is time, the Officer typically has a more senior officer to contact for assistance.
Because making good decisions is so important, let’s open up on a conversation on discretion. What are some common scenarios where discretion should be used? Shouldn’t be used?