Vice: One Cop's Story of Patrolling America's Most Dangerous City

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St. Martin's Press, Jan 18, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages

9 square miles. 10,000 criminals. 130 cops. A riveting memoir by Baker, California's most-decorated police officer

Compton: the most violent and crime-ridden city in America. What had been a semi-rural suburb of Los Angeles in the 1950s became a battleground for the Black Panthers and Malcolm X Foundation, the home of the Crips and Bloods and the first Hispanic gangs, and the cradle of gangster rap. At the center of it, trying to maintain order was the Compton Police Department, never more than 130-strong, and facing an army of criminals that numbered over 10,000. At any given time, fully one-tenth of Compton's population was in prison, yet this tidal wave of crime was held back by the thinnest line of the law—the Compton Police.

John R. Baker was raised in Compton, eventually becoming the city's most decorated officer involved in some of its most notorious, horrifying and scandalous criminal cases. Baker's account of Compton from 1950 to 2001 is one of the most powerful and compelling cop memoirs ever written—an intensely human account of sacrifice and public service, and the price the men and women of the Compton Police Department paid to preserve their city.


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VICE: One Cop's Story of Patrolling America's Most Dangerous City

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The life and work of a tireless Compton, Calif. beat cop.Baker spent his early years living in the Los Angeles suburb of Boyle Heights, a place filled with a variety of ethnicities who had migrated ... Read full review

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How exciting to read what I grew up with! My father was Sgt. Harold Fuske and I remember all that is told in this book by Rick Baker. In fact I have a scrap book containing many newspaper articles about the different incidences referred to in the book. I was born in Compton, lived in Victory Park until 1960. I spent many mornings with my father talking about his cases, I remember seeing him come home and not being able to eat dinner because of what he had seen or done earlier at work. I give Rick Baker credit for telling the truth about what the job was really like in Compton. Until you have lived it you can not even begin to understand. My father was a great peace officer and detective, he loved his job and the people he worked with. My mother always wanted him to leave Compton but he couldn't leave his "family". Thank you Rick for the wonderful words about my father. So sad that he left us at such a young age. He was a lover of books and now he's in one!
Linda Fuske Anderson


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Rut Returns the Sentinel and the Stinkers
The Ballet the Hypnotist and the Task Force
Boot Hill the Chiefs Mother and Jack in the Box
Richard III the Stardust and Orchard Street
Gangstas the Carnival and the Ritual
Compton Coda

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About the author (2011)

SGT. JOHN R. BAKER is an 18-year veteran of the Compton Police Department. He lives in Las Vegas, NV.

STEPHEN J. RIVELE is the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of Oliver Stone's Nixon, and of Will Smith's Ali. Rivele is also the author of eight previous books. He lives in Pasadena, CA.

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