The End of Policing

The End of Policing

Book - 2017
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"The problem is not police training, police diversity, or police methods. The problem is the dramatic and unprecedented expansion and intensity of policing in the last forty years, a fundamental shift in the role of police in society. The problem is policing itself"--Cover.
"Recent years have seen an explosion of protest and concern about police brutality and repression--especially after long-held grievances in Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in months of violent protest following the police killing of Brown. Much of the conversation has focused on calls for enhancing police accountability, increasing police diversity, improving police training, and emphasizing community policing. Unfortunately, none of these is likely to produce results, because they fail to get at the core of the problem. The problem is policing itself--the dramatic expansion of the police role over the last forty years. This book attempts to jog public discussion of policing by revealing the tainted origins of modern policing as a tool of social control and demonstrating how the expanded role of the police is inconsistent with community empowerment, social justice--even public safety. Drawing on first-hand research from across the globe, Alex Vitale shows how the implementation of alternatives to policing, like drug legalization, regulation, and harm reduction instead of the policing of drugs, has led to reductions in crime, spending, and injustice"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: London ; Brooklyn, NY : Verso, 2017
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781784782894
1784782890
Call Number: 363.20973 V836e 2017
Characteristics: 266 pages ; 22 cm

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lukasevansherman
Jun 27, 2020

"F*** the police."-N.W.A.
"Defund the police."-protesters everywhere
The book that anyone who cares about this issue should be reading now. It gives an overview of the history of the police, the purpose of the police, much of which was about social control, and the current situation. It has a clear point of view and, like most books published by Verso, has a leftist bent, but I think it is an excellent look at a complex and controversial topic.

s
samesfoley
Jun 18, 2020

this is a really great primer on criticisms of the police as well as alternatives. the book has 10 parts and covers topics such as the school-to-prison pipeline, race, homelessness, sex work, and the war on drugs. it was really helpful to see such a breadth of topics laid out, as it is clear that the current policing system fails many people within our society and in a plethora of ways. it's certainly more of an introduction and i was left wanting further information, but i think in that way the book accomplishes what it's set out to do. i definitely recommend it to those who are interested in the current discussion of police reform/abolition and are not sure where to start.

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StarGladiator
Mar 16, 2018

An interesting question which stems from the reading of this book:
What has been the increase of police firings involving shootings - - excluding those shootings where the dash cams/body cams were turned off [quite a number of those, BTW] - - since the introduction of dash cams/body cams???
I'll bet there has been a seriously sizable increase????

a
azuki
Nov 09, 2017

The End of Policing is a concise, accessible read -- I imagine it primarily to blow the minds of people who are invested in equity, identify politically as liberal, and eager to get more creative in how to structure our society for safety, wellness, and justice. Folks with further-left politics may appreciate the talking points that this book provides, even if the content is largely familiar (thanks to *generations* of visionary police/prison abolition organizing).

Alex Vitale covers a lot of ground in a short volume: he starts by shedding light on the fundamentally anti-Black, anti-labor, anti-dissent foundation of the police -- contrary to popular belief, the police were not established to protect public safety. He then addresses common anxieties (such as violent crime, terrorism, drug dealing, school-based violence, etc) that are used to expand of police power, and breaks down

1. the realities of how police departments make these issues worse, despite the resources and money that are dedicated to them

2. an overview of police reforms, often advocated for by liberals with the goal of making police less racist, more effective, and less corrupt -- along with research-based evidence that demonstrates why these reforms don't actually work

3. an outline of meaningful alternatives to policing, based on international models and multi-disciplinary research.

One of the primary concerns I had with this book was the chapter on how the police brutalize people with disabilities, particularly mental illness. There were a lot of ableist undertones (and overtones) in the language, that felt upsetting to read. Overall, I would recommend this book (with some of these caveats) to others who know a different world is possible, but don't know quite what that might look like.

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