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Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore's Eastern District Hardcover – June 22, 2008
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Winner of the 2008 PROSE Award in Sociology and Social Work, Association of American Publishers
"Remarkable. . . . In Cop in the Hood, Mr. Moskos manages to capture a world that most people know only through the distorting prism of television and film, where police officers are usually portrayed as quixotically heroic or contemptibly corrupt. For all the book's detail, Mr. Moskos reserves his most passionate writing for a call to abandon the war on drugs. He claims that the drug war--with its violent turf battles and revolving-door cycles of arrest--has caused more social devastation the drugs themselves."--Daniel Horan, Wall Street Journal
"Moskos frankly records his experiences with poverty, violence, drugs and despair in the gritty ghetto. Moskos's overview of policing problems covers everything from arrest quotas, corrupt cops and excess paperwork to the reliance on patrolling in cars, responding to a barrage of 911 calls, rather than patrolling on foot to prevent crimes. Moskos blends narrative and analysis, adding an authoritative tone to this adrenaline-accelerating night ride that reveals the stark realities of law enforcement while illuminating little-known aspects of police procedures."--Publishers Weekly
"[G]enuinely eye-opening...Moskos offers a compelling account of why a uniformed police patrol 'does little but temporarily disrupt public drug-dealing'--and hence why the 'war on drugs' is so helplessly self-defeating."--Times Higher Education
"Truly excellent. This is one of the two or three best conceptual analyses of "cops and robbers" I have read. It is mandatory reading for all fans of The Wire and recommended for everyone else."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
"Riveting . . . an unsparing boys-in-blue procedural that succeeds on its own plentiful--and wonderfully sympathetic--merits. Moskos . . . intermingles cops-and-robbers verisimilitude and progressive social science, yet keeps his reportage clear-eyed, his conclusions pathos-free. What results is a thoughtful, measured critique--of the failed drug war, its discontents, and the self-defeating criminal-justice system looming just behind."--The Atlantic
"[An] objective, incisive and intelligent account of police work. Moskos's graphic descriptions of the drug culture in Baltimore's Eastern District are the most detailed and analytical to be found anywhere. What distinguishes Moskos's book...is the author's plea for greater flexibility in addressing the rampant drug crisis."--Arnold Ages, Indiana Jewish Post & Opinion
"About halfway through Cop in the Hood, a new book about policing Baltimore, author Peter Moskos hits upon an important theme: The Police Department ought to do more to prevent crime, instead of simply reacting to it. Unlike the typical academic, Moskos makes these observations with an air of authenticity because of the 14 months he worked as a patrol officer in the Eastern District."--Annie Linskey, Baltimore Sun
"Highly readable"--Dolan Cummings, Culture Wars
"Moskos takes a long, hard look at the drug war and pronounces it a failure. The most encouraging aspect of this book is its portrait of the police officers themselves. Readers of Cop in the Hood are left with a renewed appreciation for the men in blue."--Rachel DiCarlo Currie, The American
From the Inside Flap
"A devastating critique of America's failed war on drugs. Cop in the Hood is a powerful and truly unique document in the sociology of criminal justice. Using an original blend of personal experience, adroit cultural interpretation, and hard-edged sociological analysis, Moskos sympathetically dissects the social context of the drug users' world, and shows us this tragedy close up from the police perspective."--Orlando Patterson, Harvard University
"Cop in the Hood is a thoughtful, highly entertaining record of a police officer's year spent patrolling one of the country's toughest urban districts, delivered by Moskos, who wore the uniform. For those who are interested in crime and how things work, and for readers seeking a reasoned look at the war on drugs and its implications, this is the handbook."--George Pelecanos, writer and producer forThe Wire
"This riveting tale of policing begins honestly and continues with great sincerity and pathos. A sensitive and timely account of the daily trials of police work by someone who knows Baltimore's streets firsthand,Cop in the Hood challenges journalists, social scientists, and others who profess knowledge of the inner city to walk those streets before making bold declarations and righteous claims for policy and redress. A must-read."--Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
"Peter Moskos, a sociologist by training, somewhat inadvertently became a police officer.Cop in the Hood is the fortuitous and fascinating result. It gives the reader the real dope from someone with the training and ability to put the street into the larger context. Highly recommended."--Alex Tabarrok, George Mason University, cofounder of marginalrevolution.com
"Cop in the Hood is an extremely valuable study centered on patrolling a drug-infested Baltimore police district. Readers interested in drug policy, criminology, or policing cannot help but to learn a lot from this book. I know that I did, and I am grateful to the author. Many of his insights are eye-opening. His voice is unique and essential in debates concerning drug-policy reforms."--Jim Leitzel, University of Chicago
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Peter Markos, in completion of his HD in Sociology, went threw the Baltimore City Police Academy thenservdd as a uniformed olice officer in Baltimore's Eastern District. Everyone knew he was doing research but far more were cooerative than not.
We learn about the process of olice academy, the day to day job of policing, dealing with the drug problems, and the issues regarding the political drivel, administrative difficulties and the basic hassles of being a cop who risks his life starting at $42,000 a year.
It is always to someone's political advantage to blame the police and Baltimore City has always been a challenging city to protect. Because of budgets, policy, volume, understaffing, the police can't prevent crime, all they can do is respond to calls.
He makes a very strong case for stopping prohibition of drugs and dealing with it in medical terms (he points out that we already have a working precedent with alcohol prohibition). 25% of police work is the War on Drugs which for 103 years now has failed miserably.
He makes a strong case for cops on foot or bikes rather than chained to the radios in their cars.
We learn a great deal and understand a great deal. This is an important book, poor title aside.
in treating drug abuse which he considers a non- violent offense. While there are stories of crime fighting on the streets of Baltimore this book is more an examination of the drug problem with its inherent violence in the City of Baltimore, how it is handled by law enforcement and how the approach should be changed for the better. If you are interested in the problems of the Criminal Justice System and the Police role in it, with a focus on the City of Baltimore you will find this book interesting and informative. Recommended.
Whether or not you enjoy the book may depend on your opinion on the war on drugs. If you believe that the war on drugs is tantamount to prohibition, you will probably enjoy the book. If you believe that the war on drugs is winnable, you probably won't like it.
Either way, Cop In The Hood provokes thought, and the author, Peter Moskos, makes a good argument for ending the war on drugs.
Highly recommended if you are interested in the field of law enforcement, or in the topic of drugs and the war on drugs.
If you liked HBO's The Wire, then this is a must read. This is a rare look at police work from a thoughtful and intelligent participant/observer. Top down analysis gets nowhere in this subject. We will forgive Peter for being a sociologist, since he came close to going native in Baltimore.
It reminds me a little of Jane Jacobs 'Death and Life of Great American Cities' in the sense that an open mind and careful observation can get you to insights that aren't either obvious or trivial.
I also fully agree with his thoughts regarding the war on drugs. First, anytime you call something 'War' as a metaphor, you have taken the first step down a dangerous path. Just start with The War on Poverty and keep counting through The War on Terror and it isn't pretty. America does fine with existential wars against nation states, like WWII.
Anything that can be done by criminalizing essentially personal behaviors like drug use, has been done to America's inner cities. But enough ranting and once more note that Peter's observations are frequently counter intuitive, and there are a number of little tips that may be of practical use (911? think again).
Maybe this generation of academic based thinkers can help us get beyond the rhetoric and come up with workable, strategic, and effective policies that will make our cities better places to live.