Saturday, August 08, 2015

Cops: Their Lives in Their Own Words by Mark Baker

(hb; 1985: nonfiction)

From the inside flap

"What they can't say on television, what they won't write in novels, cops have now told Mark Baker. From the idealistic rookie to the burnt-out veteran, here are the unforgettable voices of over 100 police men and women across the country... cops who shoot and are shot at, who pick up the pieces of shattered bodies and shattered lives, who face the danger, the fear, and the depravity... who live every day in the frightening, hard world of Cops."


Cops is an interesting read, one that I picked up as a research tool. Some of the cops (all of whom are anonymously quoted) are clearly homophobic, racist and sexist pieces of dreck; other cops' tales are more believable and less self-serving, but it is generally a good -- if sometimes disturbing and morally icky -- book that is an enlightening and worthwhile read if you, as a reader, are willing to dredge through the muck of some of these officers' printed PTSD pathologies.

Baker has compiled a well-balanced collection of "real life" recollections, one that shows why we need to not only be wary of cops, but respect -- from an non-emotional distance -- (most of) these officers and the often-thankless job they do: trying to maintain the flow of society's sewers, sewers that (for the most part) are impossible to fully clean, for a variety of obvious and not-so-obvious reasons.

It might be interesting to read an updated version of this book, given the technological "advances" that have been marketed, current societal issues and our current legal codes.

I would check this out from the library, but I would not own it. This is not a slam on Baker's solid work, but, rather, a result of me being picky about what I own. If you are less selective about what you own and are interested in the subject, it is worth purchasing.

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