Taking Back Our Streets: Fighting Crime in America

Willie L. Williams, Author, Bruce B. Henderson, Author Scribner Book Company $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-684-80277-0
In 1992, Williams, then head of the Philadelphia Police Department, was about to become Chief of Police in L.A. when the riots following the Rodney King verdict erupted. How he helped to steer the LAPD on a new course is the subject of the first half of this book, written with Henderson, coauthor of The Sea Will Tell. In essence. Williams's philosophy was to eradicate the military-style, us-versus-them bunker attitude that had characterized the department for decades and to introduce community policing. This involved both paying attention to citizens' concerns and explaining why his officers could not always do what the public wanted. He also began an aggressive campaign to recruit more minorities and women. In the latter sections, Williams gives details on how community policing is taking hold in L.A. and how other cities and towns can adopt it. A book that might have been self-serving instead makes a solid contribution to educating us about problems facing law enforcement officers. Reform of the LAPD is ongoing, according to Williams, a process likely to take 10-12 years. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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