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This work begins with a discussion of the incident in Memphis, Tennessee where a mentally ill man was killed by police. This tragedy spurred the creation of specialized police responses to incidents involving mental illness such as special police response teams SPR and crisis intervention teams CIT. Since that time, partnerships among the police, healthcare organizations and mental health professionals have worked to design initiatives that seek to provide better responses to and resources for police interactions with the mentally ill.


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These initiatives spread throughout North America, Europe and Australia, with individual countries designing their own response policies. In addition to describing these policies and reviewing their evaluations, Policing and the Mentally Ill also examines the difficulties of policing and mental health in developing nations.

A considerable strength of this work is its accessibility. While suitable for academics and advanced research practitioners, the information and policy reviews offered here are written in a style appropriate for inclusion in undergraduate courses. Its readability will also appeal to both police and mental health practitioners seeking to broaden their understanding of the issues surrounding police practice and the mentally ill.

This collection also seeks to reach an international and diverse audience through an international dialogue. The book falls short of its goal to be comprehensive, however. While titled as an international perspective, 10 of the 16 chapters focus on developments in Australia. Canadian and American research in this field account for a chapter each, but there is a notable absence of European research included here. The included selections are also very Western-focused.


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The three chapters dedicated to research in developing nations present findings from Hong Kong, Africa, and Papua, New Guinea. This does not include the private security industry, which is another essential component of American law enforcement. Policing is a popular course in criminal justice programs, and there is a host of general texts available.

Police Mental Health: from self-improvement to community improvement - Jean-Michel Blais - TEDxMSVU

Walker and Katz is a succinct and well-organized introduction to policing, and the material it covers is the basis for raising analytical questions about the role and function of the police. If an anthology is preferred, Brandl and Barlow is timely and includes a fairly extensive list of articles on police theory and practice. Any of these books could be an anchor text in a specialized course on policing. For graduate students and new researchers to the area, Newburn is probably the most comprehensive anthology, with forty-five articles. Lastly, a useful source for assessing the size and scope of law enforcement in the United States is the Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, conducted regularly by the Bureau of Justice Statistics see Reaves and Hickman for the most recent bulletin.

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Bittner, Egon. The functions of the police in modern society. Chevy Chase, MD: U. Foundational text examining the role and function of the police in modern society. Provides a frank critique of popular conceptions of police work, including public ambivalence toward police power, and uses a sociological and historical framework to explain the police capacity to use coercive force.

Current Issues in Criminal Justice

Brandl, Steven G. Barlow, eds.

The police in America: Classic and contemporary readings. Collection of major theoretical and empirical works designed to provide upper-level undergraduate students with a strong scholarly foundation in police research, theory, and practice.


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One strength of this collection is its juxtaposition of classic and contemporary readings in police history, discretion, and strategies to demonstrate developments in the field and to promote an informed dialogue on police policies and their empirical bases. Ericson, Richard V.

Policing and the Mentally Ill

The policing of risk. In Embracing risk: The changing culture of insurance and responsibility. Edited by Tom Baker and Jonathan Simon, — Chicago: Univ. Problematizes the conventional definition of the police as a mechanism for the distribution of nonnegotiable coercive force. The authors define the role of the police in modern society as that of information broker.

As such, the police produce and distribute knowledge as a part of a larger risk-communication system. Klockars, Carl B. Mastrofski, eds.

Mentally Ill Persons in the Criminal Justice System: Some Perspectives | SpringerLink

Thinking about police: Contemporary readings. New York: McGraw-Hill. Challenging ensemble of articles suitable for upper-level undergraduate courses. Topics covered include images and expectations, police discretion, the police and serious crime, policing everyday life, the moral hazards of police work, and prospects for change. Still relevant, but should be supplemented with more recent scholarship. National Research Council. Fairness and effectiveness in policing: The evidence. Edited by Wesley Skogan and Kathleen Frydl.

Authoritative review by an expert panel of research on the nature of policing in the United States. Excellent use of key themes and developments to organize a great deal of information. Newburn, Tim, ed.

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Policing: Key readings. Large number of articles covering a wide range of topics. Suitable for graduate courses on policing. Readings are on: emergence and development of police; role and function of the police; police culture; policing strategies; deviance, ethics, and control; and the emerging pattern of policing. The last of these provides a useful introduction to policing in the context of postmodernity.