Reassessing the Notion of Officer Discretion: The Impact of the Citizen

Gini R. Deibert, University of Texas - Austin

ABSTRACT
Previous research on officer decision-making has focused on discretion and racial profiling. The current study examines the decision-making processes based on public responses to enforcement. Using the adult seatbelt law in Texas, this study examines the correlates of officers' willingness and reluctance to enforce the seatbelt law and issue citations. Anticipated citizen response does effect enforcement. Qualitative and quantitative methods are used to analyze the impact of the citizen on officer discretion. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006