Legendary Lawman:: Johannes F. Spreen
“Michigan Sheriff Johannes Spreen went to jail today to defend his beliefs and actions saying ‘I’d rather be right than free’.” Walter Cronkite, CBS News, May 7, 1977. “I’m inspired by legendary police commissioner and former sheriff Johannes Spreen, whose community-partnership approach encouraged people to work together, and it was successful.” Arizona Police Chief Dan Saban. “Johannes Spreen was a police officer extraordinary; a man who helped restructure and develop New York City Police Academy training leading to a college program, a ‘West Point’ for police officers—now John Jay College for Criminal Justice. Johannes Spreen is a man of enthusiasm, indeed a prophet; always ahead of his time.” Rudolph P. Blaum, retired NYPD and co-developer of John Jay College courses. This intimate portrait of former Detroit Police Commissioner and Michigan Sheriff Johannes F. Spreen, forming his attitudes against the rugged tides of experience and events, is a delight to read. The revealing rise of a German immigrant through New York and Michigan police hierarchies adds to our understanding of policing, competitive police turf battles and the criminal forces that drive our nation to the brink in attempting to maintain freedom and peace. Spreen’s innovations re-shaped American law enforcement thinking.
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