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The New World of Police Accountability

The New World of Police Accountability

Third Edition

December 2018 | 360 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“This book gives a brief yet thorough summary of the main components of police accountability in the 21st century. What works, what doesn’t, and where are we going in the future? I love to use it with my undergraduate students to help them understand the complexities of policing in the modern era.”
—Janne E. Gaub, East Carolina University

Completely revised to cover recent events and research, the Third Edition of The New World of Police Accountability provides an original and comprehensive analysis of some of the most important developments in police accountability and reform strategies. With a keen and incisive perspective, esteemed authors and policing researchers, Samuel Walker and Carol Archbold, address the most recent developments and provide an analysis of what works, what reforms are promising, and what has proven unsuccessful. The book’s analysis draws on current research, as well as the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the reforms embodied in Justice Department consent decrees.

New to the Third Edition:

  • The national crisis over police legitimacy and use of force, is put into context through extensive discussions of recent police shootings and the response to this national crisis, providing readers a valuable perspective on the positive steps that have been taken and the limits of those steps.
  • Coverage of the issues related to police officer uses of force is now the prevailing topic in Chapter 3 and includes detailed discussion of the topic, including de-escalation, tactical decision making, and the important changes in training related to these issues.
  • An updated examination of the impact of technology on policing, including citizens’ use of recording devices, body-worn cameras, open data provided by police agencies, and use of social media, explores how technology contributes to police accountability in the United States. 
  • A complete, up-to-date discussion of citizen oversight of the police provides details on the work of selected oversight agencies, including the positive developments and their limitations, enabling readers to have an informed discussion of the subject.
  • Detailed coverage of routine police activities that often generate public controversy now includes such topics as responding to mental health calls, domestic violence calls, and police "stop and frisk" practices.
  • Issues related to policing and race relations are addressed head-on through a careful examination of the data, as well as the impact of recent reforms that have attempted to achieve professional, bias-free policing.
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About the Authors
1. A National Police Crisis
Ferguson 2014: The Shooting of Michael Brown

A National Police Crisis

The New Conversation About Policing and Police Reform

The Challenge of Police Accountability

A Definition of Police Accountability

PTSR: A Framework for Accountability

Basic Themes in the New Police Accountability

The Challenge Ahead: Reasons for Hope, Reasons for Caution

2. The Accomplishments and Limits of Traditional Police Reforms

The Police Professionalization Movement

The Courts and Police Reform

Legislative and Related Strategies for Police Reform

Conclusion: The Lessons of Past Reforms

3. The “Heart Of The Matter”: Controlling Police Officer Use of Force

Administrative Rulemaking: The Basic Model for Controlling Officer Conduct

Controlling Police Use of Deadly Force

Police Use of Less Lethal Force

Controlling Police Use of Physical Force

The Reporting and Investigation of Use of Force

De-Escalation as a Strategy for Limiting Use of Force

How Accountability-related Reforms Can Transform the Police Subculture


4. Controlling Critical Incidents

Controlling Pedestrian Stops and Frisks

“Driving While Black”: Traffic Stops and the Racial Profiling Controversy

Vehicle Pursuits: Reducing the Risks

Officer Foot Pursuits: Reducing the Risks

The Deployment of Canines: Reducing the Harms

Reducing Gender-Related Bias in Policing

Responding to Mental Health–Related Incidents

Achieving Bias-Free Policing

Ensuring Officer Integrity

Ensuring Officer Wellness

Guaranteeing People’s First Amendment Rights


5. Public Complaints and Police Accountability

A Short History of Public Complaints, Internal Affairs Units, and Public Oversight

Basic Issues of Complaints and Complaint Investigations

The Public Complaint Process

Accepting, Recording, Screening, and Classifying Complaints

Investigating Complaints

The Disposition of Complaints

Ensuring the Quality of the Complaint Process

Staffing and Managing the Complaint Process

Evaluating the Complaint Process


6. Early Intervention Systems

The Background and Development of the EIS Concept

Basic Issues in Early Intervention Systems

The Basic Requirements for an EIS

The Components of an EIS

The Challenge of Implementing an Early Intervention System

Impacts of an Early Intervention System

The Effectiveness of Early Intervention Systems

The Experiences and Perceptions of EIS Police Managers


7. External Review of the Police

Basic Features of Police Auditors and Inspectors General

The Work of the Inspector General for the NYPD

The San Jose Independent Police Auditor

The Los Angeles Police Commission and Inspector General

The Washington, DC, Office of Police Complaints

A Lost Agency: The Special Counsel to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department

Blue-Ribbon Commissions

The Strengths and Limits of External Review

Another Lost Program: The Collaborative Reform Initiative


8. Increasing Accountability with Risk Management
What is Risk Management?

Risk Management, Police Liability, and Accountability

Early Intervention Systems and Risk Management

The Prevalence of Risk Management in American Policing

Research on Risk Management in Policing

Barriers to the Implementation of Risk Management

Overcoming Barriers to Implementation: The Case of Risk Management in Medicine

Innovative Risk Management in Risk Management in Medicine: The Checklist

Checklists and Policing: Could it Work?

Legalized Accountability and Police Reform

Insurance Companies as Accountability Agents

Looking Ahead: The Future of Risk Management in Policing

9. Police Accountability and Technology

Video-Recording Devices Used by the Public

Using Apps to Report Police Misconduct

Video-Recording Devices Used by the Police

Compliance With Body-Worn Camera Activation Policies

Perceptions of Police Body Cameras

Using Social Media to Inform the Public of Police Misconduct

Increasing Police Accountability with Open Data

The Future of Technology and Police Accountability

10. The Future of Police Accountability
The National Police Crisis and its Impact

Progress: “Best Practices” Today

Threats to the Future of Police Accountability

Final Thoughts


 “In-depth of materials and explanations of a new area of policing, which are relevant to today’s police – incorporates evidence based research and real-life examples. Appropriate for an upper level undergraduate course, or a graduate course.”

Karin Tusinski Miofsky
Lakeland University

 “Significant to understanding the trust and legitimacy crisis in American policing today. Thorough coverage of the best practices an agency could and should be employing to become as open and accountable to the communities they serve as possible. Information students aspiring to careers in law enforcement, current practitioners, and concerned citizens of any community should familiarize themselves with.”

Connie M. Koski, Ph.D.
Longwood University

“A great book, covers much of the information one would cover in a policing class and also in an Ethics in Law Enforcement class.”

Rebecca Paynich

“This book gives a brief yet thorough summary of the main components of police accountability in the 21st century. What works, what doesn’t, and where are we going in the future? I love to use it with my undergraduate students to help them understand the complexities of policing in the modern era.”

Janne E. Gaub
East Carolina University

Incredible text. Really hits what I teach.

Professor Matthew Cosby
Arts/Social Sciences Div, Univ Of New Mexico-Los Alamos
May 20, 2021

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