I haven’t been doing much reading or writing the last few weeks. Too much pain to concentrate on anything much. So, in an effort to get back into the swing of things I’m going to start posting my reviews of recent reads, starting at the beginning of the year. I’d post about the Hugos or FRFA, but those subjects would involve too much emotion right now. Let’s just say I’m pissed about what’s been going on.
So, here’s my review of James McClure’s Cop World.
Based on first-hand research and interviews with people of all ages, backgrounds, and ranks, this vivid portrait of the men and women of the San Diego police force interweaves the dramatic incidents of a cop’s daily life with personal viewpoints, insights, and analysis.
ASTOUNDING! I was very, very impressed with this book about the San Diego Police Department and it’s development and implementation of C.O.P. So many of the things talked about here were apparently quite revolutionary at the time, but are so commonplace today we barely even think about them, at least in the departments around here. I believe Mr. McClure did his research in early ’80, maybe ’79. In the Afterword is a letter written to him dated fall of ’80, and Tom Metzger ran for the US House seat in ’80, so I think the research was done in ’80.
I really wish my grandfather, who was a Sheriff in ND in the ’60’s and ’70’s, was still around as I would LOVE to hear his thoughts on some of the stuff covered here. Of particular interest is the comment in the book about most departments making traffic stops with their guns drawn. That seems so very, very foreign to me. Most of the officers I know that worked in the ’70’s and ’80’s are either retired (and tough to track down) or dead.
Some things don’t seem to have changed much. Veteran officers are still complaining about rookies (even those who have college degrees) not being able to write an articulate report. A lot of officers still don’t like wearing their vests. Officers complaining about the ‘bleeding hearts’ who keep giving career criminals another chance or the soft sentences convicted criminals are given haven’t changed at all. Some things have changed drastically. The implementation of computers and the ability to pull up all kinds of information on someone you’re dealing with is a godsend. The flow of information is a huge advantage.
I think anyone who is considering getting into law enforcement should read this. Even though 35 years have passed (30 since publication) and some of the things are a little dated, so much of what is discussed is now everyday S.O.P. that it’s still a valuable, useful resource. If I were teaching a course on Criminal Justice I would make this book a part of the required curriculum.
The hardcover was in excellent shape (after 30 years) and formatted well with no obvious spelling or grammatical errors.