Applying Discretion.

March 20, 2023

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Applying Discretion.

For this question, I will act as a federal agent. Federal agents are tasked with the responsibility to ensure national security and the enforcement of federal laws. Most activities of the federal agents are done away from the public eye. Therefore, federal agents have to apply discretion(Thorburn, 2008) in how they handle and how they act in different circumstances when carrying out their duties. This allows federal agents the kind of flexibility they need when discharging their duties. It also makes their work easier. This is because each scenario they encounter needs a different approach in a bid to counter it.

Federal officers(Worden & McLean, 2014) are faced with various decisions to make every day when discharging their duties. Since federal officers(Treebold, 2018) are mostly alone when discharging their duties, they must apply discretion to their work. Federal officers must make decisions such as; whether to draw a weapon, arrest, issue a traffic ticket, shoot a gun, perform a search, and whether to stop and assist someone. These situations force federal agents to make decisions that are best suited to each situation encountered. The other factors that influence discretion include the nature of the crime, the relationship between the officer and the victim, the relationship between the criminal and the victim, gender, class, age, and departmental policy. An example is when federal agents are called in to quell and contain a protest within an institution. Students of an institution are protesting against unfair treatment by the institution and against cases of mismanagement of the institution. When federal agents are called in to help ensure that the protests are largely peaceful, each agent has to apply discretion. Each agent has to decide which is the best way to handle different scenarios. In cases when students turn rowdy, the agent has to decide whether to arrest them or talk them down. Whatever action the agents take impacts whether the protests turn out peaceful or turn into an ugly confrontation.

Everyone mostly applies discretion as it helps one to decide the best decision for each scenario. Each scenario is different; hence one has to apply discretion in order to solve it. Judicial officers(Thorburn, 2008) often apply discretion that is limited to the law. This is because the nature of the crime may be such that the judicial officer has to apply limited or no discretion at all. The judge has to rely on the law and various judicial precedents. Be it as it may, discretion has a lot of positives as one will act the best way each situation demands.

Works Cited

Thorburn, M. (2008). Justifications, Powers, and Authority. Yale Law Journal, 117(6). https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylj/vol117/iss6/2

Worden, R. E., & McLean, S. J. (2014). Police Discretion in Law Enforcement. Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 3596–3607. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_415

Treebold, J. (2018, September 19). Police Discretion Definition – Encyclopedia.com. Encyclopedia.com. https://

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