Decision-Making Process for a Police Officer

Scenario: You are a state patrol officer, on duty, who has observed a car unable to stay in its lane. When you pull the car over, you realize that the driver is also a state patrol officer who you know well and whose wife has a friendship with your wife. You have engaged in several social activities with him in the past. He is a very popular and likable colleague in the department.

As you engage with him after pulling him over, you notice that there is a strong scent of alcohol on his breath and that he is slurring his speech. When asked if he had something to drink, he says that he has just come from the retirement party of a popular police chief. He adds that he would be willing to park his car and have his wife pick him up if you could let this error slide, and states, “Law enforcement officers need to support each other.” As a patrol officer, you also have an obligation to enforce traffic laws and maintain public safety.

Decision-making Process

Five key decision-making steps should be undertaken by the police officer in an unusual scenario. Firstly, the key factors of the problem should be defined to make further evaluations. Secondly, as a patrol officer, it is important to balance personal feelings and working responsibilities. Thirdly, the moral side of the problem should be evaluated to understand what ethical solutions can be applied. Fourthly, the moral aspect of the individual who is in trouble should be defined. Lastly, the most professional solutions have to be applied to solve the issue in a favorable way.

Step 1: Identify the facts Step 2: Identify relevant values and concepts Step 3: Identify all possible moral dilemmas for each party involved Step 4: Decide what is the most immediate moral or ethical issue facing the individual Step 5: Resolve the ethical or moral dilemma by using an ethical system or some other means of decision making
  • The driver is a police officer
  • There are close interpersonal connections out of work exist
  • The driver is a popular and reliable colleague
  • The driver is probably under the alcohol effect
  • The driver is a well-recognized colleague who is in a good relationship with many workers in the industry
  • You are a police worker, whose responsibility to maintain public safety
  • As an officer, it is complicated to decide what is the proper path of action.
  • For the driver, a situation showed his unprofessionalism which is not applicable to the such workers
  • The Human factor states that it is not right to be drunk while driving a car
  • Low level of professionalism during the times out of working
In this situation, the officer must take responsibility for the safety of the surroundings. So, the best decision is not to let the driver go.

Objective Summary

The decision-making in a police field is often dynamic, as the decisions are made in a constantly shifting and unpredictable environment. Professionals in law enforcement are not immune to emotions of distrust. These fact-based sentiments are frequently aimed against their employers (Harman et al., 2019). The police officer has faced a working and personal dilemma. On the one hand, he should help his colleague and friend. On the other hand, his profession requires him to think of public safety first. Therefore, any personal feelings and relationships should be put away when it comes to maintaining the well-being of the surrounding.


Harman, J. L., Zhang, D., and Greening, S. G. (2019). Basic processes in dynamic decision making: How experimental findings about risk, uncertainty, and emotion can contribute to police decision making. Frontiers in Psychology. Web.

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DemoEssays. "Decision-Making Process for a Police Officer." October 17, 2023.