Police have the authority to make a decision between two or more choices. Ethical issues with regards to law enforcement have been a central part in the development of the structure of the police authorities. Police discretion is a tool used by officers which gives them the ability to utilize the law of the letter or not to enforce it to the letter of the law.
Discretion in enforcing offenses allows an officer to interact with people who are making mistakes, and correct those gently restoring order without disrupting the smooth functioning of every ones lives. Discretion also allows an officer the flexibility to accept that everyone makes mistakes. Discretion also gives everyone the hope that they will get away with screwing up and the means to hate police officers for all eternity for dashing that hope when they receive a ticket. The idea that discretion exists in all police work allows people to blame their race and sex for receiving punishment in their legal misfortunes because they think that the officer could have let them go but chose not to because he or she was taking their race and sex into account in their decision making processes.
A police officer pulled over an underage college student. She admits to him that she has been drinking. Later she blows a zero point five which is an automatic DUI because of zero tolerance laws. There were several other girls in the car, one had a puffy face because she was hit in a fight, and the driver was trying to get her out of the house before the police showed up. So the officer had to choose either A, he could cite her for underage drinking and a DUI plus any other applicable accessory laws, B he could let her go. He didn’t give her the DUI because she was going to school to become a teacher. He felt she deserved to be punished, but he didn’t want her dreams to be crushed because of some party that got out of hand when she was nineteen. That's one of example of using discretion.