ISBN:ISBN978-1-936274-43-7 • Hardcover
A Comprehensive History of the Police in America
In more than ten years after WWII America saw few changes to law enforcement as it had been practiced for over a century. The little known San Francisco riot of August 1945 announced the more violent events of the next half century. The policing methods remained unchanged until the 1953 kidnapping of Bobby Greenlease in Kansas City, Missouri that shook the country and showed the severe deficiencies that existed in local and federal agencies.
Civil Rights and major riots tore open the 1960s. Watts, Detroit and Newark were the tragic proof of how local police departments couldn’t handle the disorders that engulfed those cities.
The anti-war protest at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention plays an important part in this narrative since the author was in charge of convention security. The police department was split about its strategy on how to deal with the protestors: a major revelation of this book. The author also had a memorable encounter with Nixon’s infamous Attorney General John Mitchell at the Department of Justice.
The two decades of the 1970s and 80s provide the lowest points in modern American law enforcement combined with times of economic uncertainty and political crisis. Only with the emergence of “zero tolerance” initiated by NY Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Rudy Giuliani did the law enforcement picture show and marked improvement. That example was followed by the entire country with mixed results. 9/11 brutally changed the landscape with the new focus on counter terror that dominated big city police departments and the appearance of Homeland Security.
About the author
Tom Reppetto began as a police officer, rising to Commander of Detectives in the Chicago Police Department. In 1970 he received a PhD in Public Administration from the Harvard School of Government. He taught at the John Jay College of the City University of New York, and became Dean of Graduate Studies, then Vice President. Reppetto is the author of American Mafia, NYPD, Bringing Down the Mob, American Police 1845-1945 and Battleground New York. He is retired and lives in the New York City area.