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SOSC 2652 Chapter Notes -Canadian Police Information Centre, Toronto Police Service, Racial Profiling

Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 2652
Anna Pratt

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Discretion-the ability of a police officer to choose among several possible courses of
action in carrying out a mandated task
Patrol officers bring to their work a set of cognitive lenses through which they make
determinations about the people and events they encounter
Typifications- constructs based on a patrol officer’s experience that denote what is
typical about people and events routinely encountered
Recipes for action- the actions typically taken by patrol officers in various kinds of
encounter situation
e.g A visual cue such as a poorly dressed individual in an upscale neighbourhood
The risk is that racial or economic profiling may result
Factors Influencing Patrol Officers’ Decision making
The setting
Different Environment e.g. Toronto has rich districts and poor districts
Police officers posted to remote areas face isolation and cultural and language barriers.
Policing in rural and remote communities is “high visibility-high consequence”
The Priorities of the Police Service
Patrol officers are influenced by the priorities of the department, the philosophy and
management style of the chief and senior police administrators, and resources available
The management style of the police department’s leaders will affect the development
and implementation of policies and procedures within the department, how the
competing demands on the agency are prioritized, and the extent to which patrol officers
are encouraged to exercise discretion and seek solutions to problems they encounter
The Policing Style of Officers
Research studies have shown that the age,gender, length of service, ethnicity, and level
of education of patrol officers can influence the decisions they make in any given
E.g female patrol officers are less likely than male officers to provoke violence in
encounter situations and make fewer arrests than their male counterparts; are less likely
to be involved in serious misconduct, and more effective in interactions with the general
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