From Publishers Weekly
In the movies, police shootings are often glamorized; in real life, theyre often vilified. This engrossing oral history looks at such shootings from the point of view of the cops for whom they are an extreme but unavoidable part of the job. Klinger, a sociologist and ex-cop, interviewed 80 police officers in four states, who, like him, shot someone in the line of duty. He addresses the issue thematically, including chapters that explore the cops attitudes toward killing before they joined up, police training on the use of deadly force, incidents where interviewees refrained from shooting when it was justified, and the legal and psychological aftermath of shooting incidents. The shootings are described in vivid detail that probes the agonizingly complex, split-second choices cops must make over whether or not to shoot, most made under confusing and chaotic circumstances, often when the cops themselves are threatened or even wounded. Klingers sympathy with the police is evident. He disparages "antipolice activists and other windbags" and doesnt seem to have interviewed anyone whose shooting was found to be unjustified. The experiences and responses are too diversesome cops fall into depression after a shooting, while others take it in stride or even find it "exhilarating"to allow for much generalization, so the interviews add up to little more than a collection of fascinating war stories. Still, readers will come away with a renewed appreciation for the difficulties police face every day on the streets.
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"His new book, Into the Kill Zone: A Cop's Eye View of Deadly Force
, is based on research he undertook for the U.S. Justice Department and includes information from 80 interviews with officers involved in shootings. The accounts are incredibly intimate,...The result is a fascinating though slightly repetitive series of first-person narratives on a taboo topic."
(Larry Olsen, Houston Chronicle
, May 21, 2004)
"Most people's knowledge of police work comes from television and the movies, and the demands of drama rarely allow for an accurate portrayal of the life-and-death decisions so often made by the typical cop on the street. Klinger's book puts the reader in the cop's shoes, and indeed behind the trigger. For anyone interested in how things really happen, Into the Kill Zone is an excellent place to begin."