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Student Edition
Instructor Edition
The Police in America: An Introduction, 7/e

Samuel Walker, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Charles M. Katz, Arizona State University

ISBN: 0078111498
Copyright year: 2011

Book Preface

The Police in America: An Introduction provides a comprehensive introduction to the foundations of policing in the United States today. Descriptive and analytical, the text is designed to offer undergraduate students a balanced and up-to-date overview of who the police are and what they do, the problems they face, and the many reforms and innovations that have taken place in policing. The book is designed primarily for undergraduate students enrolled in their first police or law enforcement course—such as introduction to policing, police and society, or law enforcement systems.

Changes in the Seventh Edition

The seventh edition of The Police in America has undergone extensive revision. In response to reviewer feedback, we have not only updated all the statistical information but also provided new examples of several important issues throughout the book. We have also included coverage of the latest research and practices in policing. Some of the most important changes we have made for the seventh edition are as follows:

  • Chapter 1, “Police and Society,” has been enhanced to include an in-depth discussion of the role of the local police in homeland security, and presents recent trends in award-winning problem-oriented policing practices.
  • Chapter 3, “The Contemporary Law Enforcement Industry,” has been revised and updated to include a discussion on interagency cooperation on matters related to homeland security, and presents new information on trends related to coroners and medical examiners.
  • Chapter 4, “Police Organizations,” has been shortened to increase student attention on contemporary issues affecting police organization and management, and material focusing on new managerial practices has been included. Additionally, our coverage of police organizational theory has been expanded to include a section on a life-course perspective of police organizations.
  • Chapter 8, “Peacekeeping and Order Maintenance,” has been expanded to include greater discussion of the police response to domestic violence and provides increased attention to recent trends in mandatory arrest laws and the impact of dual arrest on domestic violence. The chapter also includes new material on the police response to the mentally ill and recent strategies to reduce the demand for prostitution.
  • Chapter 9, “The Police and Crime,” was shortened to increase student attention on contemporary crime issues. Material focusing on the manipulation of official clearance rates was added, along with expanded discussion of the use of DNA by the police to solve homicides and problems associated with eyewitness identification.
  • Chapter 10, “Innovations in Police Strategy” includes new material on research examining the relationship between disorder and crime. It also includes updated information on the impact of community policing in poor and minority communities, the role of problem-oriented policing in San Diego, and innovative police strategies to address problems associated with home foreclosures.

Overview of the Contents

Part I, “Foundations,” provides students with an introduction to policing in America. It explains the role of the police in the United States, along with the realities of police work and the many factors that shape policing. It also traces the history of the police from the creation of the first modern police department through the many w developments that can be found in policing today. The section concludes with a discussion of the characteristics of the contemporary law enforcement industry, including a section on the Department of Homeland Security.

Part II “Officers and Organizations,” begins with an explanation of the characteristics of police organization, the role and influence of police unions, and a discussion of the theoretical rationales for why police organizations behave the way that they do. It also includes an explanation of police recruitment, selection, and training practices, as well as a discussion of the characteristics of American police officers. The section covers the reality shock that officers encounter when beginning their job, the concept of police culture, and the relationship between the attitudes of the police and the behavior of the police.

Part III, “Police Work,” includes explanations of what the police do and how they do it. Among the subjects covered are the functions of patrol, the delivery of services, and the effectiveness of traditional policing strategies. This section also discusses the various problems that the police face while on the job and the strategies they use to respond to these problems. The section closes with a discussion of in-vations in police strategy, such as community-oriented policing, problem-oriented policing, and zero-tolerance policing.

Part IV, “Issues in Policing,” covers the various problems that police officers and police organizations encounter. The chapter on police discretion explains the nature of police discretion, sources of discretion, and how police organizations have attempted to control discretion. The section also includes a chapter on police-community relations. Attention is placed on citizen perception of the police, police perceptions of citizens, and sources of police–community relations problems. Special emphasis is placed on race and ethnicity and its implications for policing in the United States. This section includes chapters on police corruption and police accountability, which discuss different types of police misbehavior and the different strategies that are used to hold the police accountable.

Part V, “Challengers for a New Century,” concludes the book with a chapter on the future of policing in America.


A number of learning devices are included to make the text easier to teach and, for students, easier to learn, enlivening the material with practical, concrete examples and applications:

  • A new box called Police in Focus provides a discussion of a series of important issues in policing. This features is designed to highlight particularly important points and can serve as the basis for class discussion. In each case, references are provided for students who want to pursue the issue further.
  • Sidebars in every chapter expound upon important concept and feature contemporary issues related to the chapter discussion.
  • For easy reference to the boxed features (Police in Focus and Sidebars), a separate listing has been added after the contents in the front of the book.
  • Cross-reference icons direct students to material elsewhere in the text that can further illuminated chapter topics.
  • Chapter-opening outlines guide students through the chapter.  
  • Key terms are highlighted in the margins, boldfaced in the text, listed at the end of the chapter, and defined in a comprehensive glossary at the end of the book.
  • Internet exercises at the end of each chapter can be used by students for further Web-based study.
  • An end-of-the-chapter case study—a real-world example that highlights a major concept or idea from the chapter—enables students to begin applying what they have read, and discussion questions following the case study stimulate classroom discussion.


Visit our Online Learning Center Web site at

For the Student

On the student side of this free Web site are multiple-choice and true-false self-quizzes for each chapter, chapter outlines, Internet exercises, and summaries.

For the Instructor

The instructor side of the Web site comprises all student content and a password protected Instructor's Manual and Test Bank. A PowerPoint presentation, chapter by chapter, features text and exhibits to encourage student discussion.


Samuel Walker would like to thank his colleagues and the University of Nebraska at Omaha for creating a supporting academic environment. He also wishes to thank several of his graduate students who have not only helped tack down particular bits Preface

of information from time to time but also provided a sounding board for how particular issues should be covered in this book. Sam would especially like to thank former student and coauthor Chuck Katz for agreeing to share the work on producing this edition as well as the fifth and sixth editions. For Sam, it has been as much of a pleasure to work with Chuck as a colleague as it was to work with him as a student just a few years ago. Charles Katz would like to thank the many people who have contributed to the completion of this edition and to acknowledge his colleagues at Arizona State University who have always been supportive and who have been willing to lend a helpful hand when asked. Special thanks, too, to four people in particular: to Charles's parents and his wife Keri, who have always been loving and supportive (this book, and his other work, is just as much a result of their dedication and efforts as his own) and to his coauthor Sam Walker. Sam has always been supportive, whether it be professionally or personally, and his insights continue to influence Charles today.


Samuel Walker

Charles M. Katz

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