counter create hit Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City

Availability: Ready to download

Journalist and law professor Rosa Brooks goes beyond the blue wall of silence in this radical inside examination of American policing In her forties, with two children, a spouse, a dog, a mortgage, and a full-time job as a tenured law professor at Georgetown University, Rosa Brooks decided to become a cop. A liberal academic and journalist with an enduring interest in law's Journalist and law professor Rosa Brooks goes beyond the blue wall of silence in this radical inside examination of American policing In her forties, with two children, a spouse, a dog, a mortgage, and a full-time job as a tenured law professor at Georgetown University, Rosa Brooks decided to become a cop. A liberal academic and journalist with an enduring interest in law's troubled relationship with violence, Brooks wanted the kind of insider experience that would help her understand how police officers make sense of their world--and whether that world can be changed. In 2015, against the advice of everyone she knew, she applied to become a sworn, armed reserve police officer with the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department. Then as now, police violence was constantly in the news. The Black Lives Matter movement was gaining momentum, protests wracked America's cities, and each day brought more stories of cruel, corrupt cops, police violence, and the racial disparities that mar our criminal justice system. Lines were being drawn, and people were taking sides. But as Brooks made her way through the police academy and began work as a patrol officer in the poorest, most crime-ridden neighborhoods of the nation's capital, she found a reality far more complex than the headlines suggested. In Tangled Up in Blue, Brooks recounts her experiences inside the usually closed world of policing. From street shootings and domestic violence calls to the behind-the-scenes police work during Donald Trump's 2016 presidential inauguration, Brooks presents a revelatory account of what it's like inside the blue wall of silence. She issues an urgent call for new laws and institutions, and argues that in a nation increasingly divided by race, class, ethnicity, geography, and ideology, a truly transformative approach to policing requires us to move beyond sound bites, slogans, and stereotypes. An explosive and groundbreaking investigation, Tangled Up in Blue complicates matters rather than simplifies them, and gives pause both to those who think police can do no wrong--and those who think they can do no right.


Compare

Journalist and law professor Rosa Brooks goes beyond the blue wall of silence in this radical inside examination of American policing In her forties, with two children, a spouse, a dog, a mortgage, and a full-time job as a tenured law professor at Georgetown University, Rosa Brooks decided to become a cop. A liberal academic and journalist with an enduring interest in law's Journalist and law professor Rosa Brooks goes beyond the blue wall of silence in this radical inside examination of American policing In her forties, with two children, a spouse, a dog, a mortgage, and a full-time job as a tenured law professor at Georgetown University, Rosa Brooks decided to become a cop. A liberal academic and journalist with an enduring interest in law's troubled relationship with violence, Brooks wanted the kind of insider experience that would help her understand how police officers make sense of their world--and whether that world can be changed. In 2015, against the advice of everyone she knew, she applied to become a sworn, armed reserve police officer with the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department. Then as now, police violence was constantly in the news. The Black Lives Matter movement was gaining momentum, protests wracked America's cities, and each day brought more stories of cruel, corrupt cops, police violence, and the racial disparities that mar our criminal justice system. Lines were being drawn, and people were taking sides. But as Brooks made her way through the police academy and began work as a patrol officer in the poorest, most crime-ridden neighborhoods of the nation's capital, she found a reality far more complex than the headlines suggested. In Tangled Up in Blue, Brooks recounts her experiences inside the usually closed world of policing. From street shootings and domestic violence calls to the behind-the-scenes police work during Donald Trump's 2016 presidential inauguration, Brooks presents a revelatory account of what it's like inside the blue wall of silence. She issues an urgent call for new laws and institutions, and argues that in a nation increasingly divided by race, class, ethnicity, geography, and ideology, a truly transformative approach to policing requires us to move beyond sound bites, slogans, and stereotypes. An explosive and groundbreaking investigation, Tangled Up in Blue complicates matters rather than simplifies them, and gives pause both to those who think police can do no wrong--and those who think they can do no right.

30 review for Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris Barsanti

    Brooks, a law professor and researcher with a focus on human rights and the military, wrote the perceptive and prophetic book How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything, brings that same balance of on-the-ground footwork and solution-focused theorizing to this book on modern policing. It's mostly a narrative about her somewhat comical and George Plimpton-esque training as part of Washington D.C.'s unique "reserve police force" in which civilians can essentially become cops but o Brooks, a law professor and researcher with a focus on human rights and the military, wrote the perceptive and prophetic book How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything, brings that same balance of on-the-ground footwork and solution-focused theorizing to this book on modern policing. It's mostly a narrative about her somewhat comical and George Plimpton-esque training as part of Washington D.C.'s unique "reserve police force" in which civilians can essentially become cops but only put in a few hours a month. It's like the law enforcement version of the National Guard. That part of the book is entertaining (especially for the reactions of her disapproving mother, Barbara Ehrenreich) but also informative. Brooks brings an even-handed point of view to her new role and the (mostly male) officers she trains and ultimately goes on patrol with, seeing good intentions everywhere despite the inevitable layering of cynicism. But while she avoids simplistic defund denunciations, she also highlights the problems inherent in the model that ends up forcing police like her into spending their days and nights "arresting poor people for trivial offenses." It is really the last section where the book becomes essential. In this policy paper for the layman, Brooks proposes a complete revamp of how she saw police trained to see everything and everyone as a threat. In what will likely become a controversial point, she calls to do away with how in police culture cops are told they have "a right to go home safe." Brooks calls this not only dangerous, leading to many civilians dying as a result, but also unusual: "No one tells soldiers that they have 'a right' to go home safe." A balanced and humane call for a new approach to policing in which the safety of the people, not the police assigned to protect them, is made paramount.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Yukari Watanabe

    I really enjoyed reading this book. We all need to think and find a way to work together to solve complex issues. I admire Brooks' courage and actions. I really enjoyed reading this book. We all need to think and find a way to work together to solve complex issues. I admire Brooks' courage and actions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Although I disagree with some of her conclusions, Brooks’ description of police work is thoughtful, informative, and accessible.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Brooks tries to humanize police in this memoir of training and working as a volunteer reserve police officer in Washington, DC. Despite the job and the memoir's episodic nature, Brooks does a good job organizing the stories to keep a thematic momentum going. There is more personal backstory than I wanted, but after the first few chapters I couldn't stop reading. The stories have both humor and compassion. Brooks approached the police from a very liberal viewpoint, and I think that she must have Brooks tries to humanize police in this memoir of training and working as a volunteer reserve police officer in Washington, DC. Despite the job and the memoir's episodic nature, Brooks does a good job organizing the stories to keep a thematic momentum going. There is more personal backstory than I wanted, but after the first few chapters I couldn't stop reading. The stories have both humor and compassion. Brooks approached the police from a very liberal viewpoint, and I think that she must have planned to write a timely and complicated book about American police. In this, I think she largely fails. Her day-to-day patrols are disconnected from conversations about police violence, race, or even drugs or guns, except, perhaps, urban poverty. That itself could be the point. But I think that in "The Second Chance Club," Jason Hardy more successfully combines a memoir about his experience as a parole officer with a social and political discussion of parole and sentencing. It is still a good book. > Patrol has no plot. I learned this very quickly. This is why there are thousands of books and movies about detectives, but not many about patrol officers. The work of detectives comes with built-in narratives. > The medic tried again. “Listen, man. What’s your name?” Nothing, just a blank look. “Buddy,” said the medic. “You know what day it is?” A light went on inside the dull brown eyes. “Hey, yeah, man, it’s like, I think it’s like … it’s … Sunday, right, man? Sunday.” “You know who the president is?” The medic was running through the standard mental status checklist. The guy paused, looking puzzled and, for the first time, a little alarmed. “Is Donald Trump the president?” “Sorry, man, yeah.” “ Shee-it.” He closed his eyes again, this time with some determination. > For a police officer, having three or four firmly attached belt keepers is a very good thing if you happen to be breaking up a fight or running up five flights of stairs to respond to an urgent assault-in-progress call, since the duty belt holds your radio, gun, handcuffs, flashlight, pepper spray, baton, tourniquet, and various other vital odds and ends. You really want it to stay on your waist and not go flying off as you run—or, worse, fall down around your ankles, snaring your legs in a lasso of your own creation. But if you happen to be a woman and you happen to need to pee, belt keepers are not your friends. … I fumble around in the tiny stall, groping blindly for the lost belt keeper. The stiff leather duty belt, almost but not quite freed from its underbelt, swings around wildly, and my holstered gun hits the toilet tank with a loud smack. By now I’ve twisted my whole body around so I’m facing away from the stall door. I’m practically straddling the toilet, bracing my legs to try to keep my radio, which now dangles from its holder, from sliding away. > We were stopped at a red light when I noticed that the woman in the car next to us was screaming. I rolled down my window. “Oh my God oh my God!” shrieked the woman. She lifted both hands off the steering wheel. “Oh God oh God!” “Ma’am,” I called. “What’s wrong?” “Oh God oh God there’s a spider in my car. Oh God help me.” She was hyperventilating. Ben and I looked at each other. Then Ben hit the blue lights and we both jumped out of the car. “Ma’am, just come on out of your car,” I said. “My partner here is going to take care of that spider.” > “Ms. Watkins,” I said dutifully, “I just wanted to let you know that we don’t have any additional information yet, but we’re looking all over, and the minute we find out anything, we’ll let you know.” “Oh, she’s back!” “She’s back?” “I’m sorry, officer, I meant to call you, but I got so busy yelling at her, I forgot. She come back about an hour ago.” She gestured at a sulky-looking teen sitting on the sofa. “You gonna arrest her now? I’m sick and tired of this. She won’t mind me. Night in jail would do her a world of good.” > In every district, the majority of calls for police service involve reports of disorderly conduct. This can mean anything: an aggressive panhandler, kids smoking weed in the park, a loud drunk staggering around in the middle of the road, someone peeing in an alley. But after the ubiquitous disorderly calls, the seven police districts diverge. In the wealthy Second District, the most common calls after disorderly conduct complaints involve burglar alarms and business alarms going off, followed by accidental property damage (usually minor fender benders) and traffic complaints. In 7D, after disorderly conduct calls, most calls for service involve “family disturbances,” assaults, and “other,” with burglar alarms coming in fifth > MPD code words were more prosaic, and often silly: backpack, optional, happy, love, fun, rocket, urology, and waffle featured among recent entries. It was hard to imagine a desperate undercover officer trying to identify himself as a “friendly” during an armed police raid by yelling, “Waffle! Waffle!” and shouting “Rocket!” struck me as a recipe for dangerous misunderstandings. At one point, the police code word was police, which seemed both redundant and unpersuasive. > only about 3 percent of DC residents suffer from schizophrenia or severe bipolar disorder. Within the city’s homeless population, 13 percent suffer from severe mental illness, and another 15 percent suffer from chronic substance abuse problems. Encounters with mental health consumers could be sad and frustrating, but they were also treasured by officers for their comic potential. Only with a mental health consumer, for instance, was an officer likely to encounter someone deploying a snapping turtle as a weapon. > “He says he’s an alien. He’s waiting for the other aliens to pick him up.” > All told, the average arrest costs the city several thousand dollars—even when arrestees are ultimately released without formal charges. Nearly a third of all DC arrests are “no-papered,” meaning they don’t lead to formal charges because prosecutors decide not to move forward with the case. > the Police for Tomorrow initiative. We would invite applications from officers and MPD civilian employees with less than a year on the job, we decided. Those selected as fellows would participate in intensive monthly workshops on topics such as race and policing, implicit bias, poverty and crime, DC’s changing demographics and the impact of gentrification on policing, mental illness, adolescent brain development, police use of force, and innovative approaches to reducing violence, over-criminalization, and mass incarceration … Christy Lopez and I developed and co-taught a practicum course on innovative policing at the law school, and we trained our law students to serve as discussion facilitators at the police academy. MPD asked us to help rethink the entire academy curriculum, and a team of law students worked with academy staff to develop proposals for change. We put other student teams to work helping MPD rethink its performance evaluation system, develop new approaches to recruiting, and analyze the data on police stops to identify and address racial disparities. We expanded beyond MPD as well, helping a community activist in New Orleans launch a Police for Tomorrow–like program with the New Orleans Police Department > I talked about my previous writing on war and the military, and the ways in which our tendency to view more and more global threats through the lens of war had undermined the rule of law even as it expanded the role of the military. When it came to domestic, US issues, I said, we were seeing a strikingly similar phenomenon: we were categorizing more and more behaviors as crimes, with devastating consequences for the most vulnerable Americans, and we were steadily expanding the role of police. … “We live in a world in which everything has become war and the military has become everything, everything is becoming crime and the police are becoming everything, and war and policing are becoming ever more intertwined, both on the level of law and the level of institutions. These trends remain invisible to most Americans—but they are having a devastating effect on human rights, democratic accountability, and the rule of law > In the US, for instance, we consider it normal to have armed police officers enforce compliance with traffic regulations, even though most traffic violations don’t constitute criminal offenses. … American society asks police officers to use violence when needed to enforce the law, but we also ask them to serve as mediators, protectors, social workers, mentors, and medics. > I found that mention of Donald Trump’s presidency offered a fairly reliable test of mental alertness. Otherwise-stuporous people could be jolted quickly back to consciousness—often irate consciousness—by mention of Trump’s name, and the test worked even if you didn’t name names … “Great, you’re doing great. Just one more question,” the medic told her. “You know who the president is?” For a moment, her eyes fogged over, but then they snapped back into focus and she jerked herself upright. “That . . . white . . . motherfucker!” “Yeah, she’s good,” said the medic, jotting a note on his tablet. “Fully oriented to time, place, and person.” > ACCUNK stands for “Accident with Unknown Injuries,” for instance, while THRTPER stands for “Threat—In Person” and BERGMACHRPT stands for “Burglary of Machine, More than 30 Minutes Ago.” > In Britain, there are only 6.6 guns per 100 people; in Germany and France, there are roughly 30 guns per 100 people. In the United States, there are somewhere between 88 and 112 guns per 100 people. The per capita US homicide rate also far outpaces other developed countries: it’s roughly three times higher than in France, four times higher than in Britain, five times higher than in Germany, and 13 times higher than in Japan. The United States’ violence problem has obvious implications for American police officers and how they think about their on-the-job encounters

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    First, a quick note that I work in the social sciences but have no particular background in or knowledge about law enforcement. I also used to teach a class in education that sounds a lot like Dr. Brooks' policing program--an opportunity for teachers-in-training to step back from their quotidian professional concerns and consider the many contexts of the enterprise of which they are a part and how to make it work better for everyone--so I completely see the value in that. That said, I found this First, a quick note that I work in the social sciences but have no particular background in or knowledge about law enforcement. I also used to teach a class in education that sounds a lot like Dr. Brooks' policing program--an opportunity for teachers-in-training to step back from their quotidian professional concerns and consider the many contexts of the enterprise of which they are a part and how to make it work better for everyone--so I completely see the value in that. That said, I found this book to be a considered, even-handed look at American policing. It's so rare that a scholar would seek out an opportunity to immerse herself so thoroughly in the enterprise she wants to understand (beyond the standard scholarly approaches of participant observation, etc.), and care about doing a good job of it (while always questioning what it means to do a good job of it, of course), and then actually help improve it (at the invitation and with the collaboration of the enterprise itself). (Yes, many people end up in academe having worked in professions they want to understand and/or improve--but few dip back into such professions once they're established in academe.) I wonder how much more publicly interesting/applicable/useful scholarship would be if more of it were carried out that way. I was also impressed by how much respect Dr. Brooks had for her fellow officers. This book didn't feel like an expose to me--it felt like she was both trying to understand how the criminal justice system creates certain roles and expectations for the police, and how individual officers do the best they can within them. The only thing I think this book would have benefited from was some examples of how policing is thought about and carried out in other countries, to show that alternatives are possible.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Keljo

    While The New Jim Crow is a powerful book, it left a lot out about the current state of being a police officer. This book is a terrific complement that fully understands and acknowledges the sins in our policing and criminal justice system while also acknowledging the daily realities officers on the ground face. It is heartening to hear about a program the author helped start that is trying to reform policing from within. I will need to also read The Rise of the Warrior Cop to learn more about t While The New Jim Crow is a powerful book, it left a lot out about the current state of being a police officer. This book is a terrific complement that fully understands and acknowledges the sins in our policing and criminal justice system while also acknowledging the daily realities officers on the ground face. It is heartening to hear about a program the author helped start that is trying to reform policing from within. I will need to also read The Rise of the Warrior Cop to learn more about the militarization of the police as well and Policing the Open Road to better understand the role of the car in the current state of traffic policing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susanna Sturgis

    This is one of the best and most important books I've read in years. I don't use the phrase "must read" lightly, but this book is one. If you have any interest in public policy, policing, systemic racism, and/or law, please read this book. That goes whether you support Black Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter (full disclosure: I lean heavily to the former and have been, at best, jaded about "the cops" since my much younger days as a student antiwar activist). No -- make that especially if you have This is one of the best and most important books I've read in years. I don't use the phrase "must read" lightly, but this book is one. If you have any interest in public policy, policing, systemic racism, and/or law, please read this book. That goes whether you support Black Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter (full disclosure: I lean heavily to the former and have been, at best, jaded about "the cops" since my much younger days as a student antiwar activist). No -- make that especially if you have strong feelings on any side of these issues. Tangled Up in Blue will probably make you sputter and even dig in your heels. It sure did me. That's the point. That's why it's a must-read. The heart of Tangled Up in Blue comprises Brooks's experiences training and patrolling as a reserve police officer in Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Reserve officers train like regular officers, but they serve 24 hours a month instead of full-time, and they're all volunteers. From the outset, she faced consternation, confusion, and outright disapproval from friends, family, and colleagues: not only is she a law professor at Georgetown University but she's also the daughter of feminist, left-leaning writer Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed, etc.). In her social and political circles, working for the MPD was widely seen as going over to the enemy. But Brooks brought impeccable, possibly unique credentials and perspectives to the project. She has worked in both the State Department and the Department of Defense. She has extensive experience on the ground in several countries, exploring the interconnections of violence, the military, law, and war. Not least, she's also a wonderful storyteller. I was surprised by how often I laughed out loud reading Tangled Up in Blue, often right before or right after I wanted to scream or cry or throttle someone. Part of what makes this book a must-read is its nitty-gritty detail, its evocation of the day-in-day-out life of a police officer on patrol, from the perspective of one who is both participant and observer. Generalizations and ideologies polarize easily in part because they paper over complex realities. The realities Brooks writes about are dauntingly complex. Many chapter epigraphs are excerpted from an officer's daily report: "Officer [redacted] was bitten on his right arm while breaking up a large group fight. . . ." "The Complainant was inside the church acting erratically and aggressively, at which point he began jumping from the second floor choir balcony onto the first floor. A couple minutes later had climbed onto the roof . . ." Her accounts of her own experiences on patrol are often heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time, as when a young sister and brother, ages about 13 and 10 respectively, try to protect their possibly still-addicted mother from a violent (maybe) boyfriend. In the aptly titled chapter "It Can Be Kind of Hard to See Things Clearly," Brooks discusses trauma and PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) as they relate both to police officers and the people they police in poor, high-crime areas like district 7D, where Brooks did a lot of her patrolling: "Police officers experience PTSD at roughly five times the rate of the general population, and most years, suicide kills far more police officers than on-duty incidents. . . . And when traumatized citizens interact with traumatized cops, a lot can go wrong." I caught myself sometimes resisting the idea of "traumatized cops," even as Tangled Up in Blue made vividly clear both the experiences and the often unrealistic expectations that cops are subjected to. I wanted to take refuge in those generalizations. Feeling empathy for the police, understanding what they are up against, sometimes felt like "going over to the enemy," which is exactly what some of Rosa Brooks's friends, colleagues, and family thought she was doing. And that's another reason, maybe the most important reason, that I consider this book a must-read, especially for those of us whose experiences of policing and being policed are limited. It really is possible to fight for police reform, and criminal justice reform, while keeping messy on-the-ground realities in the forefront of one's mind. Not easy, but possible. As the book's epilogue makes clear, Rosa Brooks has done more than write an excellent book about her experiences. "What I wanted, I suppose, was a way to build a bridge between my own two parallel lives: my life as a part-time police officer and my other life, my 'real' life as a law professor, a writer, and someone committed to making the world a little more just." Before graduating from the police academy, she writes, "I had written up my proposal for the fellowship designed to encourage young officers to confront what I thought of as 'the hard questions'" -- the ones that get lost in the day-to-day lives of most police officers. With huge input from the Metropolitan Police Department and Brooks's Georgetown Law colleagues, the Police for Tomorrow Fellowship is now up and running. It's being used as a model and inspiration for similar programs elsewhere. Of the original planners, Brooks writes, "In many ways, we could hardly have been more different. But although we each saw different pieces of the elephant that is the American criminal justice system, we shared a common belief in the magic that can occur when people are willing to ask each other hard questions." And there's my final reason for urging you to read Tangled Up in Blue: this potential magic isn't confined to law enforcement. It can happen anywhere people are willing to ask each other hard questions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

    This is both a valuable book and an entertaining one. In the midst of controversy about the role of police in America, Georgetown Law professor Rosa Brooks became a part-time volunteer officer with the D.C. police department, which maintains a “reserve officer” corps of people who have gone through the full officer training but are only required to put in a few shifts a month. In that position she patrolled one of the poorest areas of D.C. and got an insider view of policing. The book is full of This is both a valuable book and an entertaining one. In the midst of controversy about the role of police in America, Georgetown Law professor Rosa Brooks became a part-time volunteer officer with the D.C. police department, which maintains a “reserve officer” corps of people who have gone through the full officer training but are only required to put in a few shifts a month. In that position she patrolled one of the poorest areas of D.C. and got an insider view of policing. The book is full of great stories from her job—some very funny, others tragic or frustrating, but all told with empathy for the people she encountered. Honestly I would have enjoyed the book just for this; I love a well-written book of weird stories from an intense job, and very much empathized with the author’s enjoyment of being an officer because it gave her access to places and situations she wouldn’t otherwise have. The book has a personal component as well, particularly around Brooks’s relationship with her mother, writer and activist Barbara Ehrenreich, who was deeply disturbed by her daughter’s decision to “join the enemy.” I got the sense Brooks could write a great memoir about her relationship with her mom, and it provides a nice emotional arc here. But I suspect Ehrenreich is also featured in this book to provide a stand-in for the liberal reader—Brooks is perhaps talking more to the left than the right, because these are her people, and therefore the book is more focused on pointing out that police aren't faceless monsters raring to arrest every black man they see, rather than explaining structural problems leading to high crime rates in some minority neighborhoods (though she certainly refers to these problems as well). The biggest takeaway about policing for me is that most of the time, it’s just a job. Many of the officers seem a bit lazy (which I’ve also seen in real life), but not otherwise bad people—they want to avoid paperwork where they can, and often what they can actually do to resolve someone’s situation is limited. Brooks is very interested in the use of violence, and gives a striking account of a situation where she and her partner could legally have shot someone who turned out to be an innocent teenage boy (fortunately, no violence was used). But she shows the pressures that can lead police to that point: seeing threats to themselves everywhere is constantly drummed into them from the beginning of their training, and often the cops as well as the civilians in a situation are bringing trauma in with them. She also encounters the so-called “blue wall” early on when recruits are told they don’t need to share any information about harassment from a training officer. So, Brooks provides a critique of some aspects of policing—and some laws police are required to enforce, with unintended consequences—at the same time as showing the real-life environment of a police station. She also critiques Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow for overlooking some of the realities: for instance, one of the reasons police are so heavily present in African-American neighborhoods is because the residents themselves call the police all the time, for problems ranging from being victimized by violent crime to petty disputes. That said, she never addresses drugs, which seems to me a serious oversight. Although, according to this analysis, mass incarceration actually isn’t nearly as driven by drug offenses as I believed, the disparate enforcement of drug laws in black vs. white communities is the crux of The New Jim Crow, and it confuses me that Brooks never discusses policing for drugs at all. Has D.C. decriminalized possession, or the department told officers to stop pursuing it, to the point that it wasn’t even part of her experience? If so, I wish she’d said so. Because otherwise, it seems like too large and too loaded a puzzle piece to omit. Overall though, I enjoyed this book a lot, and it raises a lot of important issues while providing a humanizing view of both the police and the people they arrest. It’s a fairly quick read and well worth your time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Sprintzen

    Reflections on Policing in an American City If you support Black Lives Matter you probably see the police as an oppressive occupying force unconstrained in its use of lethal force on the minority population, particularly its males. If, on the other hand, you counter by insisting that Blue Lives Matter, you no doubt see the BLM protesters as destructive radicals who insult “our nation’s finest” who daily put their lives on the line to serve America. And if you seek to avoid these antagonistic alt Reflections on Policing in an American City If you support Black Lives Matter you probably see the police as an oppressive occupying force unconstrained in its use of lethal force on the minority population, particularly its males. If, on the other hand, you counter by insisting that Blue Lives Matter, you no doubt see the BLM protesters as destructive radicals who insult “our nation’s finest” who daily put their lives on the line to serve America. And if you seek to avoid these antagonistic alternatives by asserting that All Lives Matter, the former will likely claim you are a hidden racist, flattening out their justified critique of the White oppressors, while the latter may similarly claim that you lack the guts to defend the police from those hateful and insulting attacks. At least, that’s the way current popular dialogue often seems to devolve into mutual incomprehension and name-calling. I don’t know if a more nuanced and constructive conversation about policing in America is possible these days, but if it is, Rosa Brooks’ recent publication strikes me as a remarkable contribution to its possibility. Tangled Up In Blue may not change anyone’s ideological predispositions, but, speaking only for myself, it gave me the feel of an honest, intimate, and very personal introduction to the reality of policing a minority community in a generally disadvantaged urban district. It was almost as if I was there, watching Rosa from a safe distance as she navigated her initial police training and then her patrolling the neighborhood. I don’t think i will ever look at the police and their relation to their community in the same way again. What Rosa presents is a detailed, nuanced, personal account of her four-year experience as a volunteer police officer with the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington DC. In this context she went through the complete training of all new police recruits, and then functioned - for 24 hours a month - with all the responsibilities and capacities of a full-time MPD officer. One may wonder what a highly accomplished 40+ year old white woman, former human rights activist and official, and now a well respected Professor of Law at Georgetown University is doing signing up to serve as a volunteer police officer in one of the most dangerous minority areas of Washington DC, but one cannot but admire the courage, determination, dedication, and sense of decency she brought to her effort. As well as the intelligence, comprehension, concern for justice, and outrage at injustice, that pervades her reporting, and the conclusions and actions she draws from her four year police experience. Her writing is simple, direct, without complicated language or theories. She doesn’t try to oversell the significance of what she went through, encountered, or learned from her experience. She simply reports it directly, as it happened. And offers comments on how it seemed to her. I found myself totally engaged by her experience, and moved by the stories she tells, with their simplicity, honesty, directness, sometimes pathos, and occasionally humor. I think that everyone who is concerned about the issues of policing, and particularly, the role of the police in minority communities, regardless of their political or personal location in these contested debates, can benefit from reading this book. And we are all in Rosa’s debt for having undertaken, first the experience, and then the personal testament that is this engaging and revealing book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    L. L.

    What happens when a tenured law professor at Georgetown University, with a background in human rights and a famous mother known for her immersion journalism book"Nickel and Dimed: On Getting By in America" decides to sign up for Washington D.C.'s reserve corps police training? First, her mother, Barbara Ehrenreich, berates her for assisting the enemy. Her husband wonders if she's lost her mind. And her father notes she's always liked pursuing the unusual. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) i What happens when a tenured law professor at Georgetown University, with a background in human rights and a famous mother known for her immersion journalism book"Nickel and Dimed: On Getting By in America" decides to sign up for Washington D.C.'s reserve corps police training? First, her mother, Barbara Ehrenreich, berates her for assisting the enemy. Her husband wonders if she's lost her mind. And her father notes she's always liked pursuing the unusual. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington DC offers one of the few programs in the country where unpaid volunteer auxiliary police attend the same academy training as those from the police academy and are sworn in as armed police officers with full arrest powers. After training, volunteers serve twenty-four hours of patrol time each month Brooks keeps notes throughout her course work and shifts in District 7 between the years of 2016-2018 in, "the poorest, saddest, most crime-ridden part of the nation’s capital,”(3). She chronicles the bureaucratic slog that slows down well-meaning officers on the force, she observes and shares the nuances of policing that tear at the hearts of many good officers, and she critically analyzes the black-white divide between enforcers and criminals. CHAPTER TWO: “I Don’t Even Live Here” In this chapter, Brooks humbly states her intentions for the book: "This book is about what it was like for me, a particular individual with a particular set of prior experiences and assumptions, to serve as a part-time patrol officer in Washington DC, with most of my time spent in the very poorest sections of the city. I don't know what it's like to be a police officer in a different city, or a rural area, or a wealthy area. I don't know what it's like to be a detective, or a vice cop, or a harbor patrol officer, or a staff officer assigned to police headquarters. And, of course, my experiences were inevitably filtered through my own identity: white, female, over-educated, brought up on the political left. Can readers generalize from my experiences? I have no idea," (18). In a poignant chapter during her early shifts in District 7, Brooks is paired with a Hispanic officer, Auguste. They receive a call from a wife requesting help with her immobile husband in the bathroom of their housing project. Auguste jumps in to perform CPR, trying everything he can to resuscitate the man. In the ER, he cries over the man's death, worrying, wondering, and wishing he could have done more to save him. A few hours later, while he, Brooks, and the medic who drove the ambulance are waiting to be released from their hospital watch, the medic and Auguste engage in some morbid banter about the downside of their jobs, especially the kids on the streets they deal with regularly. The medic calls them the "Dead People," who continue to die from life on the streets. Auguste chimes in, referring to them as "fucking animals," (25). In the book's epilogue, Brooks offers a global overview of the obstacles within the American police force that make the job increasingly impossible for any city officer to do well: "As a reserve police officer in Washington, DC, I said, I had seen first-hand the pressure put on police officers to be all things to all people, playing multiple and often contradictory roles. American society asks police officers to use violence when needed to enforce the law, but we also ask them to serve as mediators, protectors, social workers, mentors, medics, -- and it's almost impossible to be good at all of them. We're caught in a vicious spiral: as American cities and states slash funds for education, health care, rehabilitation programs, and other social services, the resulting poverty and hopelessness fuels more crime and dysfunction, which leads to more calls for police and higher law enforcement budgets -- but the more we spend on enforcement, the less we have available to spend on the vital social services that, in the long run, help reduce crime," (340). Brooks suggest instituting a forum where real conversations could take place between chiefs and officers with less than one year experience in a series of intensive monthly workshops. Here they could discuss topics such as "race and policing, implicit biases, poverty and crime, DC's changing demographics and the impact of gentrification on policing, mental illness, adolescent brain development, police use of force, and innovative approaches to reducing violence, over-criminalization, and mass incarceration," (232). From this, an initiative called Police for Tomorrow initiative was created shortly after Brooks completed her service hours.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    A very important topic - our criminal justice system is broken with race, poverty, discrimination of many forms, education, police tactics and training reform, health care, broken families, drug addiction all tangled up into a problem so large that all the band-aid 'fixes' are inconsequential. Give Brooks a lot of credit for tackling this problem first hand. A middle-age, successful woman professor, journalist, parent, she signs up for the 'reserve police officer' corp in DC. Good descriptions of A very important topic - our criminal justice system is broken with race, poverty, discrimination of many forms, education, police tactics and training reform, health care, broken families, drug addiction all tangled up into a problem so large that all the band-aid 'fixes' are inconsequential. Give Brooks a lot of credit for tackling this problem first hand. A middle-age, successful woman professor, journalist, parent, she signs up for the 'reserve police officer' corp in DC. Good descriptions of the training, the trainers, fellow trainees, and then actual patrol work. And then at the end suggestions on what reforms could make a significant difference. If you don't mind or actually like the autobiographical material Brooks brings into the book, then it's likely the book would be a 5 star for you. Her mother pops in and out of the book multiple times as a way to describe 'typical liberal views of cops', mother-daughter issues, and the danger of the job. She also includes Mark the bully at her bus stop that she had a tussle with who later became a cop (!) and died young (?). Also descriptions of her growing up as a tomboy with a 'sissy' brother who needed protection from the bullies. She ends up defending the cops as having an impossible job with a few bad apples. The stats show that policing isn't even in the top ten of dangerous jobs (construction, farming, roofing, trucking, ...) have more fatalities. However the training cops receive hammer into them the possibilities someone will pull a knife or gun on them and kill them if they are not constantly vigil. Lots of Utube videos are watched and shared during the training showing how a routine traffic stop or house visit can turn bad. Brooks includes examples where she does a risk assessment (young crying distraught teen or elderly, frail grandmother) and quickly decides there is no danger and that the cop's role is to provide comfort to people suffering and overwhelmed with a life with too many barriers. She lets us speculate with her on what might have happened if one of her more vigilant partners was spooked by a sudden movement. As we know from police shooting cases, cops are well-protected if they feel their lives are in danger regardless of the facts.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robert Costic

    Brooks provides a very accurate and detailed account of what it's like to be a police officer for the Metropolitan Police Department in DC, down to the minutiae of putting on a uniform or handcuffing a prisoner. In that sense this book is not really meant for police officers themselves as much as for a public curious as to how the police operate. Brooks actually spends a great deal of time talking about her life, how she decided to become a reserve officer, and how her mom was enraged by this mov Brooks provides a very accurate and detailed account of what it's like to be a police officer for the Metropolitan Police Department in DC, down to the minutiae of putting on a uniform or handcuffing a prisoner. In that sense this book is not really meant for police officers themselves as much as for a public curious as to how the police operate. Brooks actually spends a great deal of time talking about her life, how she decided to become a reserve officer, and how her mom was enraged by this move because she had so much antipathy toward the police. I think Brooks dwells on this in part because she wants to explain that she's not just some pro-police academic, but rather a Leftist who came to the profession inclined to think of policing and the criminal justice system as a problem. With that in mind, I agree with her most controversial argument: given the actual statistical likelihood of officers getting killed on the job, which is lower than that of loggers and professional fishermen, their priority should be to preserve the lives of the public, not just the lives of officers, and that means there needs to be a higher standard to justify when a police officer can kill someone. On the other hand, Brooks does seem to suffer the problem that many Leftists have, which is that they just don't take crime very seriously. She's so pre-occupied with how structural racism pervades the criminal justice system, and how arrests and convictions can ruin the criminals' lives, that she neglects those people who would really like not to get robbed, carjacked, stabbed, or shot. At one point she actually dwells on this and almost recognizes how silly she can sound; she mentions that if someone is robbed she can't very well let the robber go and lecture the victim on structural racism, but in the tone in which Brooks writes this passage I could tell that's kind of what she wants to do.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    This quote from the publisher's blurb, "An explosive and groundbreaking investigation, Tangled Up in Blue complicates matters rather than simplifies them, and gives pause both to those who think police can do no wrong--and those who think they can do no right." both says it all and at the same does not express the author's desire. I found little in the book that one might call "explosive" - this sounds like a publisher's hook work. Brooks herself expressed early on that she did not have a strong This quote from the publisher's blurb, "An explosive and groundbreaking investigation, Tangled Up in Blue complicates matters rather than simplifies them, and gives pause both to those who think police can do no wrong--and those who think they can do no right." both says it all and at the same does not express the author's desire. I found little in the book that one might call "explosive" - this sounds like a publisher's hook work. Brooks herself expressed early on that she did not have a strong desire one way or the other to move the needle on how we think of the police. I will give them "groundbreaking" as the story of an avowed liberal and socialist sympathizer becoming a policeman seems exactly the right method to understand the whole issue. She claims herself only a mediocre cop herself, but if her story is to be believed (and I do believe she is honest in her writing) she has seen a fair slice of the gamut of officers in the Washington Metro PD, and portrays them well. Clearly, not all police are racist, and have little motivation to be so; some are, as there are bad apples in most every barrel. Brooks' work ought to be given credence by anyone claiming to "know" what it will take to improve policing. Her one concrete suggestion in her early days out of the police academy express, I think perfectly, the problems of fomenting change in any politically motivated environment. Hers was a suggestion to have new officers be given an avenue to question what was NOT being taught at the academy, and perhaps more importantly, why not. It was turned down as being a "bridge too far" while a change in leadership (new Chief) was being made I think you will enjoy these insights into city policing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Piselli

    Like Brooks, I grew up in a Long Island north shore town. Most of my friends were what I suppose some would call blue collar, which meant that if we were hanging out in a town diner on a weekday, and a cop came in we were both nervous because we were playing hooky and friendly since he was likely to be related to one of us. The older I got, I was more likely to need a cop than to fear a cop, yet I was well aware of the difference when race was involved. Therefore, my interest in this book. Brook Like Brooks, I grew up in a Long Island north shore town. Most of my friends were what I suppose some would call blue collar, which meant that if we were hanging out in a town diner on a weekday, and a cop came in we were both nervous because we were playing hooky and friendly since he was likely to be related to one of us. The older I got, I was more likely to need a cop than to fear a cop, yet I was well aware of the difference when race was involved. Therefore, my interest in this book. Brooks did a good job capturing nuances. I didn't always agree with Brooks' conclusions as we vicariously walked a mile in her moccasins, but she raised important points that need to be argued. Some other things I liked in the book were the description of the area where the Police Academy is - I used to pass an area just like that on my way to one of my jobs in Atlanta with the firefighters' training center. Also, the culture of management was often so similar to that in my own job, I was constantly astonished. Here's a typical one: "no one was going to get fired for reading a list of rules out loud. If the rules contradicted one another and pushed officers in conflicting directions, that was their problem." Also, Brooks admits that her basic nosiness made her enjoy parts of her job. This made me laugh because I have been reading the Vera Stanhope books, in which the detective character admits the same. There were also parts that made me miss DC. One of Brooks' contentious conclusions - that officers should sometimes put the lives of those they are to protect above their own - probably continues in her other book about the creeping militarization of the police and our society in general. Also want to recommend the notes at the end - excellent.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Finch

    I have so many mixed feelings on this book. It was definitely an interesting memoir about policing in Washington, DC, a place I used to live. It was pretty easy for me to see things from the author's perspective, because she's a middle-aged white lady like me. I understand how patrolling with the police would make you sympathetic to the individual police officers you spend your time with. I was relieved at the end of the book when she brought her multiple expertises together to try to enact mean I have so many mixed feelings on this book. It was definitely an interesting memoir about policing in Washington, DC, a place I used to live. It was pretty easy for me to see things from the author's perspective, because she's a middle-aged white lady like me. I understand how patrolling with the police would make you sympathetic to the individual police officers you spend your time with. I was relieved at the end of the book when she brought her multiple expertises together to try to enact meaningful change. But, at the end of it all, I just don't believe that policing, as it is conceived and executed in the United States of America, can be reformed. I do believe that individual officers are good people, and that the majority of police are trying to do the right thing, but the entire justice system is built from our original American evil, and it simply cannot be made better. (Brooks even titled one chapter "Baked Into The System.") The more I learn, the more I think the only way to solve the problem is to defund the police and put all that money into reducing poverty. When you start to research any part of this, all roads lead to poverty, and only a robust social safety net can make things better. There's an article in my local newspaper today about how a prison in a town in my state is going to be shut down soon, and how the mayor and many citizens of that town are loudly complaining because it will devastate the local economy and eliminate jobs. How can we stand for an entire town's economy relying on a prison? How can we stand it that police officer or correctional officer is sometimes the only reasonably-paying job people can get, and those jobs depend on exacerbating a cycle of violence? Take a look at your local municipality's budget, and look at how much money goes to police versus how much goes to combating homelessness. It just makes no sense. Anyway, if you know any middle-aged white ladies who are starting to feel uncomfortable about the carceral state but aren't quite ready for Angela Davis or Mariame Kaba, this is probably a good book to give them. A NOTE ON FORMAT: The endnotes in this book were the worst of all worlds. Endnotes, but no superscript notes in the text. Most notes were citations, but a few were explanations, so at the end of each chapter, you had to flip to the endnotes to see if you missed anything. The audiobook just flat-out skipped the notes altogether.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Rivera

    There is a lot to unpack with this. And I do not feel 100% convinced of the perspective shared in this selection either. Brooks takes an experimental approach to a much larger and complex issue that goes beyond being a reserve officer for the MPD. This book is labeled as sociological and featured heavy accounts of her experience as a reserve officer. She claims that the duality of her being a reserve officer and a law professor came together as a result of her initiative to amend training to fea There is a lot to unpack with this. And I do not feel 100% convinced of the perspective shared in this selection either. Brooks takes an experimental approach to a much larger and complex issue that goes beyond being a reserve officer for the MPD. This book is labeled as sociological and featured heavy accounts of her experience as a reserve officer. She claims that the duality of her being a reserve officer and a law professor came together as a result of her initiative to amend training to feature more delicate topics such as race and policing, topics that did not come up in her training at all. It is apparent that this experiment seems like something she’s aimlessly pursuing when her mother presses her on her reasons why she is taking this on. It almost feels odd for a white reserve officer to make a profit based off of the scathing reality of policing in America even if she is able to contextualize policing and race with mentions of George Floyd and Tamir Rice. I digress mostly because there is a need to address officer training, cameras, paperwork, and mostly peer pressure among other things that officers tend to face. Beyond the blue wall of silence exists a tendency for officers to discourage other officers to report a ring at a crime scene. Or even approaches to policing that aren’t related to arrests. This book scratches the surface and attempts to indicate a way of changing policing through partnerships with other institutions. However, the institution of policing will definitely need significant changes that makes the future of policing feel bleak especially for minorities and impoverished folks who feel the effects of this the most.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lbech

    For the many of us who know nothing about policing, this is an excellent introduction. Because Rosa Brooks writes very well, this is an interesting story of her own personal experience training to be and functioning as a reserve police officer in the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department. It is also a book full of humanity, both the police she worked with and the people she encountered. She asked herself several times why she was doing it, yet she persevered to get through the same For the many of us who know nothing about policing, this is an excellent introduction. Because Rosa Brooks writes very well, this is an interesting story of her own personal experience training to be and functioning as a reserve police officer in the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department. It is also a book full of humanity, both the police she worked with and the people she encountered. She asked herself several times why she was doing it, yet she persevered to get through the same kind of training a regular officer would get and to get in her hours to earn the rank of a level one reserve officer, capable of being on patrol on her own. And because she also teaches law at Georgetown University, she saved until the very end her own efforts, as law professor and police officer, to bring positive changes to policing in order to improve conditions for both police and the people they served. Mostly, she recounts the steps she went through in training and the realities of being an officer. She liked most of the people she worked with and respected them for the work they did. Assigned to the poorest section of DC, she also had respect and sympathy for the people she encountered while on duty. All the stories were human interest pieces tied to how police functioned given the situation. Every chapter started with an event that happened while she was on duty and what the consequences were for both the citizen and the cop. The chapter that hit home most for me was about the effect of an arrest. Poor, black people are the most likely to be arrested and the arrest followed them the rest of their lives. p. 293 A woman and her sister got into a fight and she hit her sister who called the police. “Was justice served by taking her off to jail for the night? I can’t see how. But that was the law, and another person was sucked into the ravenous maw of the criminal justice system.” Another example p. 297 begins “The truth is, I wasn’t an especially good cop, and I knew it.” The remainder of the chapter delt with all the paperwork, stresses and strains on the beat the cop.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I read this as the trial of Derek Chauvin and recent police shootings filled the news cycle, and Brooks’ depiction of her time as a reserve police officer in the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) offered a nuanced perspective to what I heard in the news. Brooks is a white woman whose day job is a law professor at Georgetown University, and she has studied policing and the military (and their impacts on American society) in depth. When she signs up as a reserve recruit for the MPD, her end g I read this as the trial of Derek Chauvin and recent police shootings filled the news cycle, and Brooks’ depiction of her time as a reserve police officer in the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) offered a nuanced perspective to what I heard in the news. Brooks is a white woman whose day job is a law professor at Georgetown University, and she has studied policing and the military (and their impacts on American society) in depth. When she signs up as a reserve recruit for the MPD, her end goal is not a book about her experience, but I am so glad she decided to write one. This book does not idolize police officers, but neither does it condemn them. Rather, it lays bare the complexity of our current situation and offers a glimpse into the systems, training methods, and daily encounters with the public that create and influence the police officers serving us today. Brooks does all this with engaging prose and enthralling stories. I’m glad I read this book, and I’m glad I read it now. Some books are mirrors of my own life; others are windows into another way of living. This book was a window for me — a window into policing and a window into the training/systems that create our police. It was also a window into the lives of those who are working within the MPD to create a police department that better equips and trains its police officers and recruits. Brooks doesn’t promise that everything is fixed or that it will get better, but she offers the hope that people are working toward continual improvement. Which is all any of us can do.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Peg (Marianna) DeMott

    Rosa Brooks is the daughter of activist, and feminist Barbara Emmerich who is the author of the book Nickled and Dimed. This book written twenty years ago is a favorite of mine and changed the way I look at women forced to care for their families while working minimum wage jobs. Barbara totally did not get why her daughter, named after the famed freedom rider Rosa Parks would want to go through the hassles of becoming a reserve police officer with the DC police department. After all Rosa had a p Rosa Brooks is the daughter of activist, and feminist Barbara Emmerich who is the author of the book Nickled and Dimed. This book written twenty years ago is a favorite of mine and changed the way I look at women forced to care for their families while working minimum wage jobs. Barbara totally did not get why her daughter, named after the famed freedom rider Rosa Parks would want to go through the hassles of becoming a reserve police officer with the DC police department. After all Rosa had a pretty darn consuming career as a law professor at Georgetown Law. She'd had held several high level policy jobs in Washington. She was by all measures a success. In Barbara's eyes the police were the enemy, plain and simple, and she didn't fail to chastise Rosa numerous times about her decision. Even Rosa was not exactly sure why she was doing it. She was, after all, at the time she started police training a single mom of two young daughters with a demanding career. As the book progresses we see the inside of policing from a rookie cop's eyes, the terrible suffering of people she's called to serve, the pride of a job well done, the routine boredom at times. We also see how Rosa Brooks finds a way to be much more than a single, part time cop filling in as a cop at our nation's capitol. In the end Rosa got to say, this is why, mom, and mom did finally understand and stood tall as her daughter was honored for creating a new way for police training.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Scott Schneider

    This book helps humanize the police and show that much of their work is mundane and routine. Much of it doesn't have to be and probably shouldn't be done by armed officers. Too many people are arrested for minor offenses. Traffic stops don't need police officers. Many calls are for mental health issues or domestic disputes which could be handled better by mental health professionals or social workers. Much of the crime really related back to poverty and hopelessness. I didn't really think she sh This book helps humanize the police and show that much of their work is mundane and routine. Much of it doesn't have to be and probably shouldn't be done by armed officers. Too many people are arrested for minor offenses. Traffic stops don't need police officers. Many calls are for mental health issues or domestic disputes which could be handled better by mental health professionals or social workers. Much of the crime really related back to poverty and hopelessness. I didn't really think she should dwell so much on her mother's disapproval and her difficulties in becoming an officer. She could have spent more time on the problems with policing. I appreciated though her talking about how police work is not as dangerous as is portrayed or as officers are taught. Also I appreciated the Innovative Policing program and Police for Tomorrow programs she started, which seem to have achieved a positive culture change.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ann Campbell

    This personal account of a law professor who moonlights as a volunteer police officer in Washington DC is fantastic. The author is the daughter of the author of _Nickel and Dimed_, so that made her story even more interesting to me. Brooks doesn't seem to fully know herself why she goes through the lengthy and fairly grueling process of becoming a volunteer police officer. I love that she admits that part of her reason in that she's bored of being a law professor who drives a minivan. She also w This personal account of a law professor who moonlights as a volunteer police officer in Washington DC is fantastic. The author is the daughter of the author of _Nickel and Dimed_, so that made her story even more interesting to me. Brooks doesn't seem to fully know herself why she goes through the lengthy and fairly grueling process of becoming a volunteer police officer. I love that she admits that part of her reason in that she's bored of being a law professor who drives a minivan. She also wants to test in reality the theories of race and policing she studies. I admire that particularly. She tells the day-to-day stories of what her experiences on patrol are like and recounts her discussions with other officers, particularly ones focused on race and class. The rawness and honesty of these discussions is so refreshing. This book is great, and the style is engaging and flows well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erin I

    Brooks has credibility. I appreciate her reluctance to accept either of the current predominant polarized points of view about policing or the expectation that we 'take sides' with either the police or the (poor, black) people. She does describe an entire system with room for improvement and updating that would ultimately improve quality of life for the police and the policed, alike. Entertaining account of police academy training and a peek into the typical day-to-day experiences of a MPD police Brooks has credibility. I appreciate her reluctance to accept either of the current predominant polarized points of view about policing or the expectation that we 'take sides' with either the police or the (poor, black) people. She does describe an entire system with room for improvement and updating that would ultimately improve quality of life for the police and the policed, alike. Entertaining account of police academy training and a peek into the typical day-to-day experiences of a MPD police officer. Illustrative discussion of spending on policing vs. social services and how policing may differ in districts of varying wealth. I better understand what people are arrested for and what the long-term consequences are for them and society. (Fun fact: each arrest costs the taxpayer several thousand dollars, and most arrests result in no prosecution.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    The author is a curious person, very involved with her job as a professor at Georgetown and with various aspects of our government, and then she becomes a volunteer for DC Metro Police, going through a reserve program to become an armed police officer. She paints the job as being very complex, at one point saying there are as many ways to entrap a police officer as there are to stop a driver - so many laws and they are constantly changing. One interesting point she has: The academy focused a gre The author is a curious person, very involved with her job as a professor at Georgetown and with various aspects of our government, and then she becomes a volunteer for DC Metro Police, going through a reserve program to become an armed police officer. She paints the job as being very complex, at one point saying there are as many ways to entrap a police officer as there are to stop a driver - so many laws and they are constantly changing. One interesting point she has: The academy focused a great deal on the dangers officers face, the emphasis that someone might always be trying to kill them; perhaps the attitude should be more that a soldier faces - the idea that he is there to protect and may face danger, but the community's safely is the most important. She tells that it is dangerous to be a police officer, but not as dangerous as other professions.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda Bond

    No matter on what side we find ourselves in social issues, there is one truth that we must accept: If we’re going to understand what’s really going on, we have to be on the inside. The topic of violence as it relates to our police departments and life on the streets is a hot one; we all have opinions. But often those opinions are simply based on second-hand accounts or emotional responses to the horror of someone losing his or her life. Journalist Rosa Brooks had her own family when, at the age No matter on what side we find ourselves in social issues, there is one truth that we must accept: If we’re going to understand what’s really going on, we have to be on the inside. The topic of violence as it relates to our police departments and life on the streets is a hot one; we all have opinions. But often those opinions are simply based on second-hand accounts or emotional responses to the horror of someone losing his or her life. Journalist Rosa Brooks had her own family when, at the age of 40, she decided to enter the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police force in reserve. What she learned and reports here will open your eyes. Complicated and nuanced, the reality behind the blue line, inside the wall of silence will cause us all to stop and reconsider our ideas. It sure gave me much to think about. I met this book at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane, WA

  25. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    In her quest to better understand policing, a middle-aged female law professor enrolled in a police academy, graduated, and became a reserve police officer in Washington D.C.  This book provides a fair  and even-handed critique of police cultural problems.  It also fascinated me to see what an educated "outsider" thought about law enforcement work after giving it a legitimate evaluation.  The events and practices that puzzled the author were things that also bothered me throughout my career.  It In her quest to better understand policing, a middle-aged female law professor enrolled in a police academy, graduated, and became a reserve police officer in Washington D.C.  This book provides a fair  and even-handed critique of police cultural problems.  It also fascinated me to see what an educated "outsider" thought about law enforcement work after giving it a legitimate evaluation.  The events and practices that puzzled the author were things that also bothered me throughout my career.  It's nice to be validated. I truly admire this author.  She put everything on hold and risked her life working as a cop because she wanted to better understand the issues she was studying in her academic career.  That type of dedication is exceptionally rare in this country.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Interesting and readable book about a journalist's step inside the world of the DC Metropolitan Police Departmnet. Her stories were interesting, but not riveting. In fact one of my takeaways, is that many tasks of policing are quite boring. Lots of standing and waiting. Lots of paperwork. Another takeaway is that many of the situations with no good choices could be avoided if people would stop calling the police for petty matters. Once they are called protocol has to kick in and be followed. Good Interesting and readable book about a journalist's step inside the world of the DC Metropolitan Police Departmnet. Her stories were interesting, but not riveting. In fact one of my takeaways, is that many tasks of policing are quite boring. Lots of standing and waiting. Lots of paperwork. Another takeaway is that many of the situations with no good choices could be avoided if people would stop calling the police for petty matters. Once they are called protocol has to kick in and be followed. Good overall reminder that most police officers are truly wanting to help people and they do a lot of good. My complaints: She talked FAR too much about her mother and wanting to please her. Why was that even relevant to her story? And she got a bit repetitive as the book went along - lots of reminders that the gear is cumbersome, etc.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Rosa Brooks did a fantastic job on this book. She shows things from police perspectives and from outside perspectives, something her unique life experience of being a law professor and reserve cop allow her to do, so I anticipated her opinions to be valuable however they turned out. The first part of the book is a fascinating look at her time going through the academy and her shifts as a volunteer officer. But the gold comes in the last fifty or so pages of the book where her experiences and tho Rosa Brooks did a fantastic job on this book. She shows things from police perspectives and from outside perspectives, something her unique life experience of being a law professor and reserve cop allow her to do, so I anticipated her opinions to be valuable however they turned out. The first part of the book is a fascinating look at her time going through the academy and her shifts as a volunteer officer. But the gold comes in the last fifty or so pages of the book where her experiences and thoughts come together in an opinion on policing that I think really hits the nail on the head. It’s a shame this book isn’t getting a lot of attention because it has some answers I think a lot of the public is looking for.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joy Davenport

    I found this timely and thought-provoking book to be a clear-eyed, open-minded and balanced representation of policing in Washington DC. Brooks bases her analysis on her experiences as well as her own understanding of current events, and her arguments are presented with fairness and equality. She expresses her experiences and thoughts in a highly readable fashion, which helps when tackling such a difficult topic. I may not agree with all that she said, but I appreciated her civil tone, her willi I found this timely and thought-provoking book to be a clear-eyed, open-minded and balanced representation of policing in Washington DC. Brooks bases her analysis on her experiences as well as her own understanding of current events, and her arguments are presented with fairness and equality. She expresses her experiences and thoughts in a highly readable fashion, which helps when tackling such a difficult topic. I may not agree with all that she said, but I appreciated her civil tone, her willingness to step WAY out of her comfort zone, and her ability to look at both sides of an issue before choosing where to stand and what to do next. Be forewarned, it’s full of profanity, as she quotes from police-related incidents as well as formal and informal interviews with her fellow officers.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tad

    I really appreciated this nuanced and enjoyable look at a very controversial issue. Brooks immersed herself in the police department as part of their reserve unit. Through this experience, she got to experience policing first hand, the good and the bad. And she realized that it isn’t as simple as cops bad, civilians good. The situation is much more complex than that. Through her writing, she proposes some radical reforms for the police, some of which sound very feasible. I can’t say whether or n I really appreciated this nuanced and enjoyable look at a very controversial issue. Brooks immersed herself in the police department as part of their reserve unit. Through this experience, she got to experience policing first hand, the good and the bad. And she realized that it isn’t as simple as cops bad, civilians good. The situation is much more complex than that. Through her writing, she proposes some radical reforms for the police, some of which sound very feasible. I can’t say whether or not this book will lead to any sort of lasting reforms but reading it gave me a new perspective on the issue of policing. And that was appreciated even if it didn’t change my overall stance on the police in general.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Becky Hillary

    Rosa Brooks has an interesting perspective. She is a Georgetown Criminal Law Professor who was raised going to protests with her parents. She goes through the police academy and completes 480 volunteer hours to become a certified DC Metro Police Officer. The book involves much of her internal dialogue and struggle. The thing I liked most about this book was the epilogue that explains the program Brooks started, Police for Tomorrow, the Innovative Policing Program. Her Department at Georgetown cr Rosa Brooks has an interesting perspective. She is a Georgetown Criminal Law Professor who was raised going to protests with her parents. She goes through the police academy and completes 480 volunteer hours to become a certified DC Metro Police Officer. The book involves much of her internal dialogue and struggle. The thing I liked most about this book was the epilogue that explains the program Brooks started, Police for Tomorrow, the Innovative Policing Program. Her Department at Georgetown created an open dialogue with the Metropolitan Police Department. Her discussion on race and policing based on her interactions with other officers was interesting to me and provided me some new perspective.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.