×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America's Police
     

To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America's Police

by Norm Stamper
 

See All Formats & Editions


The police in America belong to the people—not the other way around. Yet millions of Americans experience their cops as racist, brutal, and trigger-happy: an overly aggressive, militarized enemy of the people. For their part, today's officers feel they are under siege—misunderstood, unfairly criticized, and scapegoated for society's ills.

Overview


The police in America belong to the people—not the other way around. Yet millions of Americans experience their cops as racist, brutal, and trigger-happy: an overly aggressive, militarized enemy of the people. For their part, today's officers feel they are under siege—misunderstood, unfairly criticized, and scapegoated for society's ills. Is there a fix? Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper believes there is.

Policing is in crisis. The last decade has witnessed a vast increase in police aggression, misconduct, and militarization, along with a corresponding reduction in transparency and accountability. It is not just noticeable in African American and other minority communities—where there have been a series of high-profile tragedies—but in towns and cities across the country. Racism—from raw, individualized versions to insidious systemic examples—appears to be on the rise in our police departments. Overall, our police officers have grown more and more alienated from the people they've been hired to serve.

In To Protect and Serve, Stamper delivers a revolutionary new model for American law enforcement: the community-based police department. It calls for fundamental changes in the federal government's role in local policing as well as citizen participation in all aspects of police operations: policymaking, program development, crime fighting and service delivery, entry-level and ongoing education and training, oversight of police conduct, and--especially relevant to today's challenges--joint community-police crisis management. Nothing will ever change until the system itself is radically restructured, and here Stamper shows us how.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/11/2016
Prompted by the many well-publicized police misconduct cases of recent years, this book outlines a blistering structural critique of U.S. law enforcement, along with a strategy for “fundamental” and “radical” change in how the country polices its citizens. Stamper (Breaking Rank), formerly Seattle’s chief of police, writes well-sourced, easy-to-read prose that cites both personal experience and current research to argue for a “community-driven system of policing.” The book offers opinions on many hotly debated issues, including the drug war (Stamper is for legalization), officer body cameras (it’s complex), and civil asset forfeiture and police militarization (strongly against). Stamper injects a remarkable amount of personal pathos into the subject, going so far as to admit mistakes in—and apologizing for—his handling of the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) protests. His work could have benefited from looking at policing in other countries. By emphasizing institutional change, Stamper makes a brave attempt to answer the common question (one asked whenever another unarmed African-American is shot by police), where are all the good cops? Agent: Sarah Smith, David Black Agency. (June)
From the Publisher

“This is a book America has been waiting for–a top cop's searing expose of corrupt, bigoted, brutal and trigger-happy policing in America and how to fix a broken system. It's the inside story, an MRI from former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, showing good cops taking risks to protect us all, to cities balancing the books with police fines, militarization run amok, and a police culture off the rails. Now, says Stamper, the mindset behind the badge has to focus first on public safety, crime, and collaboration not confrontation, with communities asserting control and clear federal standards to insure accountability. And he shows how it can be done.” –Hedrick Smith, author of Who Stole the American Dream? and Executive Editor of Reclaim The American Dream

“Most of the nation's approximately 18,000 police departments receive scathing criticism from one of their own…. A vivid, well-written, vitally important book.” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“A blistering structural critique of U.S. law enforcement… By emphasizing institutional change, Stamper makes a brave attempt to answer the common question (one asked whenever another unarmed African-American is shot by police), where are all the good cops?” –Publishers Weekly

Library Journal
07/01/2016
Stamper, former chief of the Seattle PD, calls for a radical new approach to policing. He writes of the challenges and changes in law enforcement in recent decades and stresses community participation in every aspect of policing operations.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-03-28
Most of the nation's approximately 18,000 police departments receive scathing criticism from one of their own: an author who began as a San Diego beat cop in 1966 and rose to become a police chief in Seattle. Stamper follows up his first book (Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing, 2005) with a more contemporary—and more critical—account. He concludes that police departments as currently structured—akin to military units with force as a dominant characteristic—must be rebuilt. The author recognizes that almost every police agency includes a majority of uniformed officers and plainclothes detectives who place polite, effective service above brute force. However, he maintains, the rogue cops, although a minority, too often exercise undue influence, infecting everybody with their negative attitudes toward minority and mentally ill citizens, who deserve respect rather than stigmatizing. Stamper offers evidence that the problems transcend a small number of bad apples; he says the barrel is rotten and must be replaced. One solution must come from outside the police agencies: an end to the so-called war on drugs, which has spawned so much violence, both directed at and initiated by the police. Stamper would like to see legislatures and courts treat narcotics such as crack cocaine and heroin the same way alcohol is treated currently, as a public health matter leading to criminal charges only when drinkers harm other people. The remainder of Stamper's suggested solutions involve reconstituting agencies to replace the military command structure and mentality with a social services structure emphasizing nonviolent problem-solving over force. Ideally, Stamper would increase the number of female police street officers and commanders, believing they make more empathetic, less violent cops. The author does not shy away from specific incidents of unarmed citizens killed by police; he explains, for example, why Michael Brown should never have died in Ferguson, Missouri. A vivid, well-written, vitally important book.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568585406
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
06/07/2016
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
258,795
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author


Norm Stamper was a cop for 34 years, the first 28 in San Diego, the last 6(1994-2000) as Seattle’s police chief. He is credited as the architect of the nation’s first community policing program and has a PhD in leadership and human behavior. He is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing (Nation Books, 2005). He served as a founding member of President Clinton’s National Advisory Council on the Violence Against Women Act, and as an advisory board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, along with numerous other boards dedicated to violence prevention, drug policy reform, and social justice. He has been called as an expert witness in approximately 20 police misconduct cases. He has written essays and opinion pieces for such publications as the New York Times, the Nation, time Magazine, the Guardian (UK and US), Playboy, the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union Tribune, Penthouse, American Police Beat Magazine, and YES! Magazine.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews