Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing

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Basic Books, 2006 - Political Science - 400 pages
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Opening with a powerful letter to former Tacoma police chief David Brame, who shot his estranged wife before turning the gun on himself, Norm Stamper introduces us to the violent, secret world of domestic abuse that cops must not only navigate, but which some also perpetrate. Former chief of the Seattle police force, Stamper goes on to expose a troubling culture of racism, sexism, and homophobia that is still pervasive within the twenty-first-century force; then he explores how such prejudices can be addressed. He reveals the dangers and temptations that cops face, describing in gripping detail the split-second life-and-death decisions. Stamper draws on lessons learned to make powerful arguments for drug decriminalization, abolition of the death penalty, and radically revised approaches to prostitution and gun control. He offers penetrating insights into the "blue wall of silence," police undercover work, and what it means to kill a man. And, Stamper gives his personal account of the World Trade organization debacle of 1999, when protests he was in charge of controlling turned violent in the streets of Seattle. Breaking Rank reveals Norm Stamper as a brave man, a pioneering public servant whose extraordinary life has been dedicated to the service of his community.

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Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing

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The best police stories are told by police officers. In Breaking Rank , Stamper, a 34-year police veteran (he's the former chief of police in Seattle and former deputy chief in San Diego) candidly ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Norm Stamper began his law enforcement career in San Diego in 1966 as a beat cop. In 1994, he was named chief of the Seattle Police Department, where he set about implementing many of the initiatives he writes about in Breaking Rank. Retiring in 2000, he now lives in a cabin on a mountain in the San Juan Islands in Washington State.

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