Un-arresting Police

My book, Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police, describes my journey which brought me from patrol officer to chief of police in seven short years.   In Minneapolis, I was a cop by night and university student by day during those tumultuous years in the late 1960s.  My formal education changed not only how I viewed the world, but also opened me to a new and radical idea of police being partners in improving American society. My book, scheduled to be released in January, 2012, takes the reader through the history of American police and their missed opportunities. It is an important work that needs to be read by those who wish to see our society live up to its professed values as well as for those who wish to serve those values as police officers.

Throughout my 30+ year police career I’ve had a burning desire to see police improve – I always thought police could be more than they were — like defenders our Constitution and Bill of Rights and “social workers in blue.” It all came together when I was appointed chief of police in Madison (WI). It was there that I spent over twenty years transforming the department into a national and international model. I ended the “war at home;” a bitter and brutal battle between protestors and Madison police during the Vietnam war years. But what makes this book different from other police books is that they are often about sensational crimes and incidents or about embarrassing or exposing police — not about improving them and certainly not over a twenty year period. I can “walk my talk” when I describe how I improved a city police department. Yes, police can be improved and they can, and should, protect our rights while continuously improving the systems in which they work. So, let’s start talking about it…

2 Comments

  1. with the political situation now with the police,fire etc right in the middle of it, what would you do to make them a more nuetral party and also to be used as a catlyst to bring both sides together to improve our state, not keep tearing it in two?

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    1. You are right to see this potential conflict. Of course, we have here strong,long-standing unions of police officers and firefighters. It is rather easy to take the side of the protesters here. The real test for police is for them to protect demonstrators with whom they strongly disagree; e.g. the right of the American Nazi party or the Aryan Nation to assemble and demonstrate! It is the role here of police leadership to openly discuss the situation and conflicts !

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