- Chief Couper serves up a delightful blend of war stories, step-by-step instructions and aspirational goals in his career memoir: Arrested Development. [He] is an excellent story-teller who uses his anecdotes to drive home a much needed message to American law enforcement: Don’t stop improving; get closer to the communities you serve; be respectful and helpful to those you are privileged to serve. Couper was a pioneer who took the principles of Total Quality Management that so successfully transformed Japanese and American manufacturing and adapted them to the delivery of police services. Chief Couper also led the way in finding new and safer ways to police mass protests and demonstrations, something a place like Madison gave him plenty of chance to practice. Having read more than a few memoirs from retired cops, I prepared myself for the usual mixture of confessional material, endless whining about being misunderstood, and self-serving “now that I’m retired, I can say what I really think” claptrap. Gratefully, I was completely unprepared for what Couper had to offer. This book provides the reader with a reliable and sweeping eyewitness account of the challenges American policing faced in the later part of the 20thCentury… Evident throughout this account is his unquenchable desire to learn from experience and continuously improve as a leader and as a public servant, all with the goal of improving the service his agency provided to its community. I couldn’t help wishing I’d had a chance to serve with and learn from this remarkable leader.
- I have read David Couper’s book two times, and have purchased copies for police commanders in multiple departments. As a police researcher, I have read a lot of books on the subject. This is, by far, one of the best books that I have read. Every person working in the policing field, whether a scholar or practitioner, needs to read this book. You may not agree with every point Couper makes, but you will walk away with a better understanding of organizational transformation and what it takes to change an organization’s culture – both personally and professionally. I attended a Chief’s Track Panel at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference on October 19, 2013, and Couper’s police work, legacy and book, “Arrested Development,” were being discussed by a panel of city police chiefs. That, in itself, provides an indication of the significance and relevance of Couper’s work in contemporary policing. Couper presents an impressive, direct and unveiled look into his experiences in the Madison Police Department. He provides his readers with an inside look at his 20+ years as Chief of Police in the Madison Police Department and his “lessons learned.” I am grateful that Couper took the time to write his book. I have learned a lot from him.
- This is a great read on many levels and for readers with varied interests. It is informative, insightful, balanced and at times, provocative. For law enforcement executives there is a compelling call to action.For aspiring leaders of all kinds there are lessons in leadership, the influences and power of organizational culture and implementing sustainable change. For community leaders it offers ideas on a better direction for the future of police/community relations. For students of the 1960’s and 1970’s unrest, there are glimpses and perspectives from a fully involved insider. Lastly, it is the fascinating story of one man’s journey and his evolution as a person and as a leader.
- David Couper brings his years of experience and study to look at ways our police work and the political environment they operate within. He opens a door to a profession that is not well understood, and gives suggestions on how to improve the current state of affairs. Whether you’re a professional officer, politician, or engaged citizen, this book is well worth the read.
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