There’s a constant flow of death, violence, and hatred appearing on our news feeds. However, this does not mean that love cannot win, and if we want love to win, we must embody love. Before peace can take place, there must first be understanding. The books listed below are meant to educate people about what it means to be a police officer and how the profession effects the mind. It is easy to hate, but as readers, we must keep our mind open to literature that can teach us something about people we don’t understand.
End of Watch by Stephen King
End of Watch does a good job of showing how the police force operates from an inside perspective. The beginning of the book is narrated by the protagonist, Officer Brian Taylor. He says explicitly that he will enforce the law no matter what, even if he does not agree with the law, he will enforce it no matter the cost. This kind of mentality is exactly what is wrong with the police force. This can be fixed by changing how cops are trained, rather than the use of violence.
I love a Cop by Ellen Kirschman
I Love a Cop shares personal stories of cops who suffer from PTSD and how to overcome the strain it puts on relationships. Given the nature of law enforcement, sometimes it is difficult to relax after an intense week, month, or year working the streets. This books help cops maintain healthy relationships with their loved ones.
The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker
The opening line to this book is, “True fear is a gift, unwarranted fear is a curse, learn to tell the difference.” There are many ways to interprete a situaion. This book not only gives examples of common scenarios (what do you mean common scenerios? In the criminal world? When facing cops? In the rainforest? On the streets?), it also gives play by play instructions on how best to handle them.
Signals by Allan Pease
Law enforcement involves dangerous criminals who often don’t want to comply with authority. At the same time cops are dealing with average citizens who may not understand the severity of the situation they are in. This books helps cops read situations better through reading body language and other human signals, leading to better decision making in the field.
On Killing by Dave Grossman
Part of a cop’s job is to deal with death and murder. Most have close encounters with the most sadistic, horrific, people ever spawned at least once during their careers, if not more. These experiences have dramatic effects on how cops see the world around them, and unfortunately it expresses itself as violence, excessive force, and an abuse of constitutional rights. This book helps officers survive the streets both physically and mentally.
Blue Blood by Edward Conlon
Harvard graduate and former New York Police Department officer Edward Conlon gives a different perspective to the nature of law enforcement. He talks about the politics of working as a police officer, and how corruption effected his day to day life on the job.
Being open-minded means you can at least attempt to look at all sides of an issues without prejudice. If you are emotionally involved in what has been happening with police and the black community, then take some time to listen to the other side of the story. Consider also that the problem may be more than simply the actions of a few bad police officers; the problem is much larger and goes all the way up to the highest levels of government. Open your mind, open your heart, and hear the voices of the human beings in blue, maybe, just maybe, your perspective will change for the better, and that possibility alone is why we read in the first place.
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