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

Norm Stamper. Nation, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-56858-540-6
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)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
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