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.

What's Inside

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“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
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