Walk the Walk

How Three Police Chiefs Defied the Odds and Changed Cop Culture

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Pub Date 21 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 21 Apr 2023
Henry Holt & Company, Metropolitan Books


From “one of the most interesting sociologists of his generation” and a former cop, the story of three departments and their struggle to change aggressive police culture and achieve what Americans want: fair, humane, and effective policing.

What should we do about the police? After the murder of George Floyd, there’s no institution more controversial: only 14 percent of Americans believe that “policing works pretty well as it is” (CNN, April 27, 2021). We’re swimming in proposals for reform, but most do not tackle the aggressive culture of the profession, which prioritizes locking up bad guys at any cost, loyalty to other cops, and not taking flak from anyone on the street. Far from improving public safety, this culture, in fact, poses a danger to citizens and cops alike.

Walk the Walk brings readers deep inside three unusual departments—in Stockton, California; Longmont, Colorado; and LaGrange, Georgia—whose chiefs signed on to replace that aggressive culture with something better: with models focused on equity before the law, social responsibility, racial reconciliation, and the preservation of life. Informed by research, unflinching and by turns gripping, tragic, and inspirational, this book follows the chiefs—and their officers and detectives—as they conjured a new spirit of policing. While every community faces unique challenges with police reform, Walk the Walk opens a window onto what the police could be, if we took seriously the charge of creating a more just America.

From “one of the most interesting sociologists of his generation” and a former cop, the story of three departments and their struggle to change aggressive police culture and achieve what Americans...

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ISBN 9781250777522
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Thank you to the author and publisher for the advance reader copy - this has not influenced my review.

Summary: This book follows three police departments after their police chiefs make a big decision: to replace aggressive policing practices with something better. By adopting models that focused on preservation of life, equity in the eyes of the law, social responsibility, and racial reconciliation, these police departments are trying to change the culture around their police departments. This book provides an insight into this process by following the chiefs, detectives, and officers of these departments.

Review: For transparency's sake, I am a Ph.D. student with a focus in Criminal Justice Policy. Because of this, I was really, really interested in this book, while also preparing myself to be potentially let down. That was not the case at all. This book provided an honest, raw, heartbreaking, and uplifting insight into these three police departments. Anyone interested in the future of policing should read this book.

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