Throughout their daily practice, police officers find themselves surrounded by dilemmas and situations which require sober and sound judgment. This mostly occurs in the absence of any form of supervision from the senior officers and may be a challenge in cases where the officer is unable to make a decision. This falls under police discretion, which has advantages and disadvantages. Discretion simply refers to actions taken by criminal justice officers based on personal judgment depicting the best and reasonable course of action (North Carolina Wesleyan College, 2004). It may entail an officer imposing a legal sanction, say, giving a ticket to, arresting, or stopping a traffic offender. Another form of discretion occurs when an officer is required to distribute time among duties. Lastly, officers are expected to decide on whether to use force or not in handling criminals. Discretion may lead to negative image and hatred from the public, especially in cases when there is no consensus on how to define and measure criminal behavior (North Carolina Wesleyan College, 2004).
Handling of family members and other related people also poses a major challenge to the countless officers within the criminal justice system. How should the police officers deal with their family members found breaking the law? This definitely calls for sound judgment from the police officer in considering the negative and positive implications of discretion. It is important for the police officers to bear in mind that every citizen is always under the law regardless of their relationships with law-enforcing officers. In the given dilemma, where the officer’s mother is found driving recklessly while drunk, the officer should take the best course of action by allowing criminal law to overrule their blood relationship. This would guard the image of the police through public eyes and ensure that everybody receives fair treatment when found on the wrong side of the law (North Carolina Wesleyan College, 2004).