Police officers in the United States legally have wide authority of discretion in order to enforce the law. Discretion is the capability a police officer has in making a decision in a situation whereby he/she is required to make several likely courses of actions. In Chicago, police officers usually exercise discretion as it is legal in the constitution of the United States and the Criminal Justice Field. For instance, in Chicago’s 8100 block of South Ashland Avenue, a man was killed by police officers for refusing to take his hands out of his coat. The decision of the police officer to shoot the man was due to several factors. First, the victim refused to take his hands out of the coat despite numerous demands to do so by the officer, this made the officer think that the man was armed. Second, when the victim got out of the vehicle, he acted aggressively and, finally, the police officer feared for her life after seeing the actions of the man and thus forcing her to take action (Chicago, 2010).
The above factors were enough for the police officer to take the make her final decision. This is based on the fact that citizens have expectations of police officers to serve the community but do not understand what is expected out of citizens from these officers. It is thus typical for police officers to make such decisions. They have to make second split decisions and its obvious that action always beats reaction. Therefore, it is fundamental to look at the circumstances of the situation between the officers and the citizen. On the other side, it s clear that the public needs to be educated about what is usually expected of them in traffic stops and the like in order to avoid police discretion on innocent citizens who lack the basic police procedures (Michael & John, 2010).