Police Officers are on the front line in an endless domestic battle of good versus evil. While there are many rules, policies and laws in place that govern the authority granted to police officers, there is a great tool there for our police officers they call, “Officer Discretion”.
A police officer should not handcuff someone when there is not a reason to believe that they have committed a crime or a danger to the officer while he conducts his investigation. Contrary to public belief there are laws, policies and Supreme Court Rulings that dictate when an officer can and cannot place someone in handcuffs. Sometimes the choice to do it is clear cut and other times it is not. When it is not as clear it is at that point that the officer begins to use his best judgment or, “Officer Discretion”.
Many people don’t realize the dangers that police officers face each and every day of their life. Officers must make split second decisions that a jury or defense attorney will in some cases have months to tear apart. While there may be times in which an officer has handcuffed someone for no reason, in the officers mind there may have been some suspicion or a level of discomfort that the officer was feeling that ultimately gave him the right to handcuff someone in a “detention” sense while he completed an investigation.
One of the weirdest things to watch is when for instance a suspect wrecks after leading police on a high speed chase and after the wreck the first thing the police do is handcuff the seemingly lifeless suspect. Does this make sense? Police Officers are trained to never let their guard down regardless of the situation. With this mentality it is easy to understand that a seemingly lifeless suspect could turn out to have been unconscious and now before the officers knew it have now become a threat to the safety of the officers and the people around them.
There are situations outside of the law where it is wrong for Police Officers to handcuff someone. People have their rights against unlawful search and seizure. In most cases while an officer is acting in the performance of his duty and within the laws of the state, and rulings made by the Supreme Court, the officer there should never be an instance where an officer should not be allowed to handcuff a suspect that he has evidence of committing a crime or reasonable belief while legally investigating a crime that the suspect is a danger to himself or others. Police Officers walk the line between good and evil and providing them with useful tools to keep evil from crossing over should be of the utmost importance.