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Arrest Decisions: What Works for the Officer? (New Perspectives in Criminology and Criminal Justice) Paperback – December 4, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


«In this ground-breaking study, Edith Linn, a former New York Police Department lieutenant, takes on the personal dimensions of arrest decisions. Some officers, suffering from low pay and high living costs, arrest for overtime and use a variety of techniques to maximize it. Others are deterred from arrest-making by the muddle of paperwork and the likelihood that a collar will interfere with childcare, second jobs, or family functions. Such officers may pass off their arrests to others, ignore criminal behavior, or try for a desk job. Overall, this exceptional work not only humanizes these officers but adds tremendously to our store of knowledge of policing and the factors that affect officers’ behavior.» (Martin D. Schwartz, Professor of Sociology, Ohio Presidential Research Scholar, Ohio University)
«Edith Linn’s book ‘Arrest Decisions’ is a fascinating, well-researched study of adaptive arrest behavior among New York City Police Department officers. Linn, a former NYPD lieutenant, proves that lengthy arrest procedures generate powerful private motives to make or avoid an arrest, and that officers control their arrest-making in furtherance of their own self-interest. Buttressing her analysis are the many participants’ comments, which detail the problems in their daily lives and their frustration with the system. Linn’s groundbreaking work is an outstanding contribution to the literature of policing and criminal justice. I would recommend it for any interested professor, researcher, student, and the average citizen.» (John S. Dempsey, Captain, New York City Police Department (Ret.); Professor Emeritus in Criminal Justice, State University of New York (SUNY)-Schenectady County Community College; Mentor in Criminal Justice and Public Administration, SUNY-Empire State College)
«Anyone interested in exploring the full range of factors that enter a police officer’s mind as he/she decides when and how often to arrest individuals should hurry up and read Edith Linn’s ‘Arrest Decisions’. Linn brings these considerations to life through rigorous social science analysis buttressed with illuminating revelations of officers’ confidential opinions. She uncloaks the determinants of this ‘adaptive arrest behavior’ as she astutely combines the practical experience of a former police lieutenant and the analytical skills of a sociologist.The book examines the intersection of the arresting process with organizational, situational, and personal factors, but it is in the area of personal factors that Linn breaks new ground. She examines such factors as post-work commitments, the burdens of the arrest process, attitudes towards arrest, personal concerns, personal finances, and pre-incident proclivity to make or decline arrests.This volume is an important contribution to the literature on police behavior and other scholars will be well advised to replicate this valuable study. I highly recommend this work.» (Eli B. Silverman, Professor Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Author, ‘NYPD Battles Crime: Innovative Strategies in Policing’)
«Through hard work and concise analysis, Edith Linn provides us with a thought-provoking inside look at how forces outside police officers’ work environments shape how they carry out their duties on the job. Linn has given a wonderful glimpse into the world of everyday police decision-making. In so doing, she has made a fine contribution to what we currently know about the operations of the police in modern American society.» (David A. Klinger, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis)

About the Author

The Author: Edith Linn spent twenty-one years with the New York City Police Department before retiring as a lieutenant in 2002. She received a Ph.D. in criminal justice from the City University of New York in 2004. She has taught at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and at Kean University, and is currently a professor at Berkeley College in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Series: New Perspectives in Criminology and Criminal Justice (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.; First printing edition (December 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433100584
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433100581
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,121,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tina Lewis Rowe on February 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is fascinating for its insights into the foundational work of a police department that is surrounded by gritty mystique in the minds of most of us--the NYPD. The 123 page text (it seems to have been a doctoral dissertation) is filled with charts, graphs and survey results about a study of 506 officers and the thought processes that went into their arrest decisions.

Few of those thoughts have much to do with Truth, Justice and the American Way or even the negative thoughts of bias, revenge or railroading someone. They appear to be focused on issues that are rooted in an incredibly time-consuming arrest process and the effect it has on overtime, frustration and an officer's personal life. I thought I was generally knowledgeable about the variations in processes and procedures around the country, but this left me amazed--and depressed.It shouldn't be like this!

The book also has several appendices that are worthwhile and that make for equally interesting reading. The glossary provides explanations of commonly used jargon and codes and the reference section will make a great checklist of reading material on this and related topics.

Dr. Linn obviously put a tremendous amount of work into the project, which is the only one of its kind that I have ever found. I value the research and I accept that her conclusions are accurate--I just wish they weren't.

This will be an excellent addition to the libraries of police supervisors or commanders, if only for a cautionary example. It would also be worthwhile for trainers and FTOs. Officers who are preparing for promotion could also benefit from it, as a way to show depth of thought or to have a quotable fact or statistic.
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Arrest Decisions: What Works for the Officer? (New Perspectives in Criminology and Criminal Justice)
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