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What to know about police decision-making

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | Criminal Defense

All police in Maryland must make quick decisions in the line of duty on a daily basis. They must observe and mentally digest information constantly while on duty. Some activity is not necessarily criminal until certain aspects of the potential crime become evident, and time can be of the essence depending on what is transpiring. For this reason, police could make serious mistakes when handling a situation that might easily be rectified with a commonsense reaction. How the police react is important, and when officers make bad decisions in an arrest situation, their decision-making capabilities can be called into question in a court of law.

Evaluating a crime scene

Crime scene evaluation is usually not a trained skill for a new police officer. Detectives and more experienced officers tend to do in-depth criminal case analysis. Some police officers do investigate and collect basic information looking for obvious evidence first. The problem for many law enforcement officers is deciding what to do to uncover evidence or pursue an assailant, which is often where a criminal case argument begins when being presented in a trial.

Responding in dangerous scenarios

There can be questions in some criminal cases regarding an officer acting with too much zeal or disregard for others. Being eager to make an arrest of an intoxicated driver can be a reasonable decision when it comes to public safety, but being overly eager to arrest a seemingly harmless individual can lead to questions when a criminal charge argument is being presented in court. A decision that is reasonable in one case may not be in another based on the severity of the crime.

It is important to remember that all criminal cases are detail-driven, and the police make decisions on the run in many cases. Their decision-making skills can be called into question when they are unreasonable.