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Police in America

Police in America

Second Edition

Other Titles in:
Police Studies

January 2020 | 424 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Grounded in evidence-based research, Police in America provides a comprehensive and realistic introduction to modern-day policing in the United States. This reader-friendly text helps students understand best practices in everyday policing and think critically about the many misconceptions of police work. Author Steven G. Brandl draws from his experience with law enforcement to emphasize the positive aspects of policing without ignoring its controversies. Brandl tackles important topics that center on one question: “What is good policing?” Included are discussions of discretion, police use of force, and tough ethical and moral dilemmas—giving students a deeper look into the complex issues of policing to help them think more broadly about its impact on society.

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Chapter 1: An Introduction to the Police in America

The Challenge of Policing a Free Society

The Controversies and Difficulties of Policing

Ethics and Morals in Policing

Chapter 2: The History of the Police in America
Why Study the History of the Police?

Policing Colonial America

The First American Police Departments: The Political Era of Policing

Early 1900s to 1960s: The Reform Era of Policing

The 1970s to the Present: The Community Problem-Solving Era of Policing

Chapter 3: The Characteristics and Structure of Police Organizations
Characteristics of Police Organizations

The Challenges of Managing Police Organizations

The Structure of Police Departments

Major Operating Units in Police Departments

Types and Levels of Law Enforcement Agencies

Chapter 4: The Role of the Police
The Police Enforce the Law

The Police Control Crime

The Police Deal With Situations Where Force May Need to Be Used

The Police Respond to People in Need

The Police Handle Time-Pressing Situations

The Police Enforce the Law, Maintain Order, and Provide Services

Chapter 5: Police Recruitment, Selection, and Training
The Relationship between the Recruitment, Selection, and Training of Police Officers

The Recruitment of Police Officers

The Selection of Police Officers

Minimum Qualifications for Police Officers

Selection Procedures for Police Officers

The Outcomes of the Recruitment and Selection of Police Officers: Diversity

Police Officer Training

Chapter 6: Police Patrol
Police Patrol and Call Priority

Managing Calls for Service

Preventive Patrol

Hot Spot Policing

Police Crackdowns

Police Stops of Citizens as a Strategy

One- and Two-Officer Squads

Foot Patrol

Offender-Focused Strategies

Chapter 7: Crime Detection and Investigation
Criminal Investigation Defined

Types of Criminal Investigations

How Are Crimes Solved?

Forms and Types of Evidence in Criminal Investigations

Chapter 8: Police Discretion and Its Control
Discretion Defined

Factors That Influence the Discretion of Police Officers

How Is Police Discretion Best Controlled?

Chapter 9: The Law of Search, Seizure, and Self-Incrimination
Basic Legal Terminology and Concepts

The Law of Search and Seizure: The Fourth Amendment

The Law of Self-Incrimination: The Fifth and Sixth Amendments

Chapter 10: Health and Safety Issues in Police Work
What Is Stress?

The Effects of Stress

Physical Hazards of Police Work

So Is Police Work Dangerous?

Chapter 11: Police Use of Force
Reasonable Force and Use of Force Guidelines

Deviations in Use of Force: Unnecessary Force versus Brutality

Types of Force

The Causes of Police Use of Force

The Control of Police Use of Force

Chapter 12: Police Misconduct and Corruption
The Importance of Understanding Police Misconduct and Corruption

The Nature and Extent of Police Misconduct and Corruption

Causes of Police Misconduct and Corruption

The Control of Police Misconduct and Corruption

Chapter 13: Community and Problem-Oriented Policing
The Rise of Community Policing

Community Policing: The Details

Problem-Oriented Policing: The Details

Chapter 14: Evidence-Based and Intelligence-Led Policing
Smart Policing

Data-Driven and Evidence-Based Policing


Predictive Policing

Intelligence-Led Policing

Chapter 15: Terrorism, Technology, Accountability, and the Future of American Policing
History as a Guide to the Future

New Demands on the Police

The New Police

The New Technology of Crime Detection and Accountability



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"Police in America is the textbook on policing. Very comprehensive and accessible. This is the best resource that I have found for teaching current trends and best practices toward evidence-based policing."

Selye Lee
Arkansas State University

"A well-written, comprehensive textbook that works at both sophomore and junior level classes. It covers topics often ignored in other textbooks, and is engaging for students."

Elizabeth Perkins
Morehead State University

"Police in America is an introductory text which discusses current and relevant policing issues within the context of police history. The central theme of ‘what is good policing’ ties together the concepts and information presented to students."

Wendy Perkins
Marshall University

"Thorough, concise, user-friendly, accurate, and up to date."

Paul Klenowski
Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Research-based, balanced, and useful instructor resources.

Dr Todd Prough
Sociology Dept, Randolph-Macon College
January 3, 2024

Better balance on neutrality. Framework is focused on teaching how policing should be. still has controversial issues for discussion is not anti police.

Patricia Feese
Criminal Justice, Briar Cliff University
December 11, 2022

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