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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Urban America and Its Police: From the Postcolonial Era through the Turbulent 1960's by Harlan D. Hahn & Judson L. Jeffries (University Press of Colorado) In Urban America and Its Police, Harlan Hahn and Judson L. Jeffries present a broad and comparative overview of urban policing in the United States . Synthesizing their own research with information from an eclectic array of sources—seminal social science studies of urban police departments, government documents, reports from organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, and think tank monographs—they present a nationally oriented and historically informed understanding of the diverse and often conflicting roles police officers play on city streets.
Hahn, professor of political science at the
University of Southern California , and Jeffries, associate professor of political science at Purdue University , also demonstrate the ways in which race and ethnicity have influenced United States law enforcement since the creation of the nation's first police force. Ultimately, the authors call for a renewed emphasis on the social service dimension of police work—a shift they argue would reduce crime and enhance community support for those who are sworn to protect and serve.

Urban America and Its Police covers an impressive amount of ground, and addresses the full complexities and nuances of the role of the police in society. Its command of the early social scientific literature on the police is remarkable, and its treatment of that literature is level-headed, fair, and non­dogmatic. [Its] main argument—that police should accentuate their social service role and downplay their emphasis on crime fighting—is one that deserves a broad hearing.” —Steven Herbert, Author of Policing Space: Territoriality and the Los Angeles Police Department

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