The Police and the Public


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Albert J. Reiss, Jr.

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Riding with patrol cars in four major northern cities, walking with policemen on the beat, observing what goes on in police stations, analyzing who telephones the police, what crimes are reported, who reports them, and why, Albert J. Reiss, Jr., seeks to understand the ways in which we can make our society more civil, our police more humane, our population more responsible. 

Reiss devotes most of his first chapter to describing the experiences of two police officers during an ordinary night in a patrol car.  He then considers the many ways in which police and public interact – and how and why they often do not.  In a chapter entitled “Police Manners and Morals,” the author investigates situations where policemen may themselves break the law – and how such actions relate to the subculture of an individual neighborhood or beat.  Finally, Reiss outlines his understanding of how we may become a more civil society, presenting his view that the morality of the public and the morality of the police are intimately related, that one cannot be expected to improve unless the other does. 

"Due to its empirical foundations, this volume is destined to become a classic, a benchmark to which future studies will refer. It is a reading must for urban and organizational social scientists, public officials, police officers, and informed citizens."—Social Science Quarterly

"Some of the findings that emerge from their reports will shock the average reader. Some of the other findings will suggest the vast difference between the reality of police work and the public picture of it. . . this is a superb book which cuts closer to the bone of truth about the police in America than any other book I have read."—David Burnham, New York Times Book Review

"Alber Reiss' The Police and the Public is too important, too perceptive, too timely to gather dust on a library shelf; far too relevant to the true professionalism of the police to be reserved for graduate students in sociology and political science. It is a study of the police, for the police."—Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science
ISBN: 9780300016468
Publication Date: February 1, 1973
304 pages, x
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