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Power and Restraint: The Moral Dimension of Police Work.

By Howard S. Cohen and Michael Feldberg, Praeger Publishing, New York, 1991, (212)685-5300.

In testimony during the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department (The Christopher Commission), a UCLA psychiatrist said, "Police are now required to be diagnosticians, and indeed, gatekeepers with respect to the intoxicated, the mentally ill, the traumatized, the emotionally distraught, the bereaved, and even those in the grip of existential despair." As this observation demonstrates, modern society demands much from the police. Citizens expect officers to be assertive in time of danger, restrained in potentially explosive situations, fair in the resolution of disputes, courteous to all persons, and legally secure in their judgments.

Power and Restraint examines these high expectations and explores their sources and rational basis. The authors provide a compact (166 pages) and practical analysis of the moral choices that police make. They also present a persuasive case for establishing clear standards for police behavior based on five criteria: Fair access, public trust, safety and security, teamwork, and objectivity.

Within this framework, the authors set forth four realistic scenarios-working a rock concert, resolving a dispute, "calling in" a favor, and dealing with a child molester--in which to examine the standards. These cases inspire self-reflection and may even spark animated discussions among experienced officers. Most importantly, however, they can serve as blueprints for inservice ethics instruction.

Power and Restraint provides a welcome addition to the relatively limited resources available for ethics training in law enforcement. It represents a valuable contribution to the study of police ethics and would be a thought-provoking addition to any police manager's library.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Federal Bureau of Investigation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Robinette, Hillary M.
Publication:The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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