Agency and discretion in police practice

<p></p><p>ABSTRACT The interest in the individual-society relationship is characterized in social theory by the diversity concerning the role of agency in human action. In this article, we revisit the issue of agency in an applied perspective. We aim to examine agency in police practice through the analysis of the meta-agentive discourse emerged in a narrative whose theme was the disrespect of a police officer during a research interview. The analysis shows that: (i) despite the range of possible choices of actions circumscribed by the law and the situated contexts, a single route of action is usually applied to all situations that are evaluated as disrespect; (ii) there is a new model of police officer whose reflexive and critical character is aligned with a model of community-oriented police that the government has been trying to implement in public security policies in Rio de Janeiro.</p><p></p>