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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-04-11
- Reviewer: Staff
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)