The Police in a Free Society: Safeguarding Rights While Enforcing the Law

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9781440852909: The Police in a Free Society: Safeguarding Rights While Enforcing the Law

An unprecedented look at the evolution of American police from filling their intended role as peacekeepers and guardians of citizen rights to calling themselves―and acting primarily as―"law enforcement officers."


· Reveals realities and myths about the police in America, their role in our society, and what can―and can't―be done to improve relations and public confidence in our police

· Provides an unbiased examination that presents BOTH sides of the issues and represents the perspectives and responsibilities of the police alongside those of the citizens they serve

· Enables readers to see the evolution of police over time and grasp the various positions in the debate about the proper role of police in modern society

· Presents solutions to the widespread problem of eroding respect for police agencies, discussing the issue in the broader context of how government and culture play key roles in ensuring that police agencies are competent and trustworthy

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About the Author:

Todd Douglas is a 25-year veteran state police commander and former U.S. Navy intelligence specialist attached to the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Review:

"At last a real policeman, experienced in every aspect of a job that demands an enormous variety of skills―how to shoot straight and when to use force, making split second decisions, thinking about the long-term consequences of police action, remaining calm in the face of violence or abuse―has taken to the pen, demonstrating that it is greater than the sword. This is a welcome book that offers much sage advice to police officers, their managers, and the politicians who exploit them. More important, Douglas, drawing on his personal experience and his mastery of current police research, paints a balanced, reasoned assessment of the state of policing in America today and its prospects for the future. We citizens who in theory are served by the police as they 'protect and serve,' as it is so often inscribed on police vehicles, should sit up and take note. Buried in that slogan is the crux of the matter that Douglas unmasks and dissects: how, in a democratic society, the police should maintain order without being (or appearing to be) bullies." (Graeme R. Newman, Distinguished Teaching Professor, School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany)

"Balancing society's need for police protection and the constitutional rights of citizens is one of the most pressing political issues of our time. Todd Douglas does an excellent job covering both topics in a way that informs the reader without lecturing, bringing history and the law together in a way few others have done. I highly recommend The Police in a Free Society to those new to the subject, as well as to those already schooled in policing and the Constitution." (William A. Jacobson, Esq., Clinical Professor of Law, Cornell Law School)

"Todd Douglas adds a perspective from the front lines of policing to the contemporary conversations about police reform. He blends research findings, illustrative case material, and practical insights to form a vivid picture of street-level policing―which is being pinched by conflicting public expectations, the mandate to enforce legislative prohibitions on psychoactive substances, legal limits on police authority, bureaucratic demands for productivity, and the wretched realities of the street. Douglas produces a gripping and wide-ranging assessment of contemporary challenges, setting American policing in the broad historical, legal, and systemic contexts essential to understanding recurrent controversies." (Robert E. Worden, Associate Professor, University at Albany)

"We need more books like this, that provide an insider perspective on policing, by experienced and responsible critics of current police practices." (Alan Dershowitz, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Law School; Author of Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law)

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