The police in America belong to the peoplenot 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 siegemisunderstood, 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 communitieswhere there have been a series of high-profile tragediesbut in towns and cities across the country. Racismfrom raw, individualized versions to insidious systemic examplesappears 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, andespecially relevant to today's challengesjoint community-police crisis management. Nothing will ever change until the system itself is radically restructured, and here Stamper shows us how.
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About 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.