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Police in America

Police in America

Experience with SAGE edge

February 2017 | 432 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Police in America provides students with a comprehensive and realistic introduction to modern policing in our society. Utilizing real-word examples grounded in evidence-based research, this easy-to-read, conversational text helps students think critically about the many misconceptions of police work and understand best practices in everyday policing. Respected scholar and author Steven G. Brandl draws from his experience in law enforcement to emphasize the positive aspects of policing without sugar-coating the controversies of police work. Brandl tackles important topics that center on one question: “What is good policing?” This includes discussions of discretion, police use of force, and tough ethical and moral dilemmas—giving students a deeper look into the complex issues of policing to help them think more broadly about its impact on society. Students will walk away from this text with a well-developed understanding of the complex role of police in our society, an appreciation of the challenges of policing, and an ability to differentiate fact from fiction relating to law enforcement. 

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About the Author
Chapter 1: An Introduction to the Police in America
The Challenge of Policing a Free Society  
The Controversies and Difficulties of Policing  
Ethics and Morals in Policing  
Chapter 2: The History of the Police in America
Introduction: Why Study the History of the Police?  
The Pre-Police Era in America  
The First American Police Departments: The Political Era of Policing  
Early 1900s to 1960s: The Reform Era of Policing  
The 1970s to the Present: The Community Problem-Solving Era of Policing  
Chapter 3: The Characteristics and Structure of Police Organizations
Characteristics of Police Organizations  
The Challenges of Managing Police Organizations  
The Structure of Police Departments  
Major Operating Units in Police Departments  
Types and Levels of Law Enforcement Agencies  
Chapter 4: The Role of the Police
Enforcing the Law  
Controlling Crime  
Dealing with Situations Where Force May Need to Be Used  
Handling Time-Pressing Situations  
Chapter 5: Police Recruitment, Selection, and Training
The Relationship between the Recruitment, Selection, and Training of Police Officers  
The Recruitment of Police Officers  
The Selection of Police Officers  
Minimum Qualifications for Police Officers  
Selection Procedures for Police Officers  
The Outcomes of the Recruitment and Selection of Police Officers: Diversity  
Police Officer Training  
Chapter 6: Police Patrol
Police Patrol and Call Priority  
Managing Calls for Service  
Preventive Patrol  
Hot Spot Policing  
Police Crackdowns  
Police Stops of Citizens as a Strategy  
One- and Two-Officer Squads  
Foot Patrol  
Offender-Focused Strategies  
Chapter 7: Crime Detection and Investigation
Criminal Investigation Defined  
Types of Criminal Investigations  
Proof in Criminal Investigations  
How Are Crimes Solved?  
Forms and Types of Evidence in Criminal Investigations  
Chapter 8: Police Discretion and Its Control
Discretion Defined  
The Anatomy of a Decision  
Factors That Influence the Discretion of Police Officers  
How Is Police Discretion Best Controlled?  
Chapter 9: The Law of Search, Seizure, and Self-Incrimination
Basic Legal Terminology and Concepts  
The Law of Search and Seizure: The Fourth Amendment  
The Law of Self-Incrimination: The Fifth and Sixth Amendments  
Chapter 10: Health and Safety Issues in Police Work
What Is Stress?  
The Effects of Stress  
Physical Hazards of Police Work  
So Is Police Work Dangerous?  
Chapter 11: Police Use of Force
Reasonable Force and Use of Force Guidelines  
Deviations in Use of Force: Unnecessary Force versus Brutality  
Types of Force  
Patterns in Police Use of Force: Causes and Control  
Chapter 12: Police Misconduct and Corruption
The Importance of Understanding Police Misconduct and Corruption  
The Nature and Extent of Police Misconduct and Corruption  
Causes of Police Misconduct and Corruption  
The Control of Police Misconduct and Corruption  
Chapter 13: Community and Problem-Oriented Policing
The Rise of Community Policing  
Problem-Oriented Policing: The Details  
Chapter 14: Evidence-Based and Intelligence-Led Policing
Smart Policing  
Data-Driven and Evidence-Based Policing  
Predictive Policing  
Intelligence-Led Policing  
Chapter 15: Terrorism, Technology, Accountability, and the Future of American Policing
History as a Guide to the Future  
New Demands on the Police  
The New Police  
The New Technology of Crime Detection and Accountability  
Appendix: The Bill of Rights, United States Constitution


Student Study Site
SAGE edge offers a robust online environment featuring an impressive array of tools and resources for review, study, and further exploration, keeping both instructors and students on the cutting edge of teaching and learning. SAGE edge content is open access and available on demand. Learning and teaching has never been easier!

SAGE edge for Students
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  • A customized online action plan includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials, which allows students to individualize their learning experience
  • Learning objectives reinforce the most important material
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
  • Video, audio, and website links which appeals to students with different learning styles
  • EXCLUSIVE! access to SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter to encourage students to think critically.
Instructor Resource site

SAGE edge for Instructors supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to ease preparation for lectures and class discussions
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions to help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content
  • Tables and figures from the book are provided for your courses
  • Video, audio, and website links which appeals to students with different learning styles
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter to encourage students to think critically.

"Very well done. I like the description of practical applications and real-world policing these provide."

Dr. Todd Lough
Associate Professor, School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, Western Illinois University
Key features


  • ?“Test Your Knowledge” self-assessments begin every chapter to help students confront misconceptions about policing and provide an opportunity to determine how much they know about the subject matter before they begin their reading.
  • “Research Spotlight” highlights a particularly interesting and significant research study relevant to the topic of each chapter so students can draw evidence-based conclusions about what works in policing.
  • “Good Policing” offers examples of police programs, policies, and issues that relate to effective, equitable, and ethical policing to put into perspective how important it is to be a good police officer.
  • “A Question of Ethics” presents an ethical dilemma relating to the topic of the chapter that requires students to think critically about a particular issue in policing.
  • “A Question to Consider” poses a question related to the topic at hand to help students stop and consider the implications of the content for them and the field as a whole.
  • “Technology on the Job” examines a particular technology used by the police while performing their job to familiarize students with key technological advances in policing. 
  • “Police Spotlight” opens each chapter with a real-world example to help frame the content of the chapter.

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781506378442
ISBN: 9781483379135