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Copicide: Concepts, Cases, and Controversies of Suicide by Cop Paperback – December 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0398078379 ISBN-10: 0398078378 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Charles C Thomas Pub Ltd; 1 edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0398078378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0398078379
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,860,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy O'Hara on January 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
John Violanti and James Drylie provide the most informative examination, to date, of the phenomenon often called "suicide by cop," increasingly known by the term, "copicide." In their very clear, well thought out analysis, they specify three definitional elements that must be present in order for an incident to be classified as an SbC (suicide by cop). These include voluntariness on the part of the suicidal individual, a clear and present danger to the officer(s) or others, and a communication of the threat, whether verbal or nonverbal.

Numerous case examples explore the wide variety of scenarios faced by officers, many of them rendering some confusion when coming to a finding of SbC. Violanti and Drylie do an excellent job of examining each in detail, however, and produce a valuable insight and recommendations for law enforcement agencies to consider, both in their training and evaluations. They also explore the uncomfortable topic of officers committing "suicide by suspect," or "suicide by cop turned inside out."

Questions, of course, remain to be answered, but the authors have opened the door with their valuable contribution. In addition to recommending a standardized definition of SbC, they have provided a book full of resource data that can open further discussions and, hopefully, lead to greater understanding of these phenomena.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert F. Powers on November 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a civilian I approached this book with an open-mind. "Suicide by Cop" is a devastating dilemma facing law enforcement officers today. Were police provoked into shooting to death a suicidal or was the suicidal person simply suicidal? Since there are many options a person would have to take their own lives, using the police is a puzzle. There are some convincing arguments such as, the person did not have the courage to pull the trigger himself and knew an officer would defend himself with deadly force or the realization that a life insurance policy precludes suicide as a benefit for payment to his beneficiary. The author is objective enough to allow some leeway between suicide by cop,or just a momentary psychotic incident of the "suspect" but the bottom line is-what should a policeman do when faced with a life-threatening situation? The only part of the book I am a bit skeptical about is...From Day 1 in the police academy every future officer is well aware that someday they may be faced with having to take another human beings life. If a trainee can not answer in the affirmative that he could he is sent packing, and since I am not in their shoes I can't really say for sure, but I don't know if an officer who has been involved in a deadly force shooting defending himself or another civilian would fall to pieces and be forever devastated both physically or psychologically by the event. I apologize if I am incorrect to any officer who may have been through this situation but from Day 1 they are always aware that potential deadly force could occur at any moment.

I recently spoke to a young patrolman about personal defense since I have a liscense to carry and I was confused about the legal and civil entanglements as an aftermath to defending one's life.
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Format: Paperback
You can tell people are uncomfortable about something when they can't figure out what to call it. Variously termed officer-assisted suicide, law enforcement-assisted suicide, or suicide by victim-precipitated homicide, the idea that a suspect would deliberately expose himself to police gunfire in order to effect his own death has probably long been familiar to police officers, but the phenomenon was first formally articulated by Marvin Wolfgang in 1959, and the actual term, suicide by cop was coined by police psychologist and sworn officer Karl Harris in 1983. It's kind of easy to see why none of the other terms ever caught on. The first two wordings place the officer in a Dr. Kevorkian-like role of willingly abetting the suspect's wish to die, while the last term sounds like it's all but calling the cop a murderer. Though still not the most graceful terminology, suicide by cop (SBC) is the descriptor that appears to have stuck, and is the term used most often by law enforcement personnel, police psychologists, and media reporters when they talk about this phenomenon. So, in introducing yet another term into the death-by-police-officer lexicon, it is natural to wonder if the concepts underlying Copicide provide anything more novel than the new name.
The book begins by discussing the history and concept of suicide by cop. The authors express dissatisfaction with this term precisely because of the implied responsibility it imputes to the police officer in effecting the suicide of another.
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