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Contemporary Policing: Controversies, Challenges, and Solutions.

Contemporary Policing: Controversies, Challenges, and Solutions, edited by Quint C. Thurman and Jihong Zhao, Roxbury Publishing, Los Angeles, California, 2004.

Quint C. Thurman and Jihong Zhao have compiled what is probably the most contemporary series of articles on policing to date. Leading experts, such as Lawrence W. Sherman, Ronald V. Clarke, Eli B. Silverman, David Weisburd, and Anthony V. Bouza, offer a variety of perspectives on issues from innovative policing strategies and promising new approaches for crime prevention to internal and external challenges to policing. All of the articles first appeared in respected academic journals or government publications.

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Divided into seven sections, the text consists of 30 articles. Part 1, "New Policing Strategies," contains four articles on how policing for crime control has evolved over the last 20 years. Ronald V. Clarke provides one of the best perspectives on the future of policing by succinctly stating that "problem-oriented policing represents the future of policing." The national trend clearly has been toward focused situational crime prevention strategies. Clarke identifies the current deficiencies in problem-oriented policing practices and suggests how to improve the situation. Also in this section, Eli B. Silverman offers insight into the New York City Compstat experience, a policing practice that has diffused profusely throughout the policing industry in the last 10 years.

Part 2, "Promising Approaches to Crime Reduction and Prevention," examines promising issues in the crime control arena. In this section, Lawrence W. Sherman presents one of the most compelling pieces of research on promising strategies and programs, as well as those not as encouraging. Too often, police executives embark upon a strategy without any empirical understating of its success or failure. This approach frequently perpetuates the myth about a program's success and wastes money and effort. Sherman identifies four strategies that work: 1) increased directed patrols in street-corner "hot spots" of crime, 2) proactive arrests of serious repeat offenders, 3) proactive drunk driving arrests, and 4) arrests of employed suspects for domestic violence.

Parts 3 and 4 review the challenges facing law enforcement from inside the agency (internal challenges) and from outside (external challenges). Thomas J. Cowper describes how policing suffers from a misapplication of the military model, which hampers the agency's flexible character and organizational adaptability, and Anthony V. Bouza delivers provocative insight into police work and public expectations of law enforcement agencies in contemporary American society.

Part 5, "Innovations, Boundary Spanning, and Capacity Building," dovetails on parts 3 and 4 and responds with necessary organizational adaptations, individual behaviors, operational activities, and management styles that seek to improve police organizations. Five articles highlight the internal and external environments that drive organizational change, including policing's core mission and employing technology.

Part 6, "Police Deviance and Ethical Issues," is perhaps the most important section of the book. Four articles cover the breadth of police corruption, from the inaccuracies portrayed by the media to sexual misconduct and drug abuse. Brian L. Winthrow and Jeffrey D. Daily explore the perplexing issue of gratuities from the slippery slope perspective, essentially a broken windows approach to gratuities: controlling small trivial gifts and gratuities inevitably will curb larger ones.

The last part, "The Challenges Ahead," considers the future of American policing. Three articles explore the direction of community policing, fear reduction, and the difference between police and policing. David H. Bayley and his colleague Clifford D. Shearing specifically tackle the future of policing by examining the emergence of privatization.

This anthology is an excellent addition to any college course on policing, especially police and the community. Law enforcement practitioners will find it useful as a reference guide to augment policy positions and to assist with strategic planning endeavors.

Reviewed by Captain Jon M. Shane Newark, New Jersey, Police Department
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Author:Shane, Jon M.
Publication:The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jul 1, 2006
Words:619
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