Rethinking the Police
An Officer's Confession and the Pathway to Reform
by Daniel Reinhardt
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Pub Date 21 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 21 Dec 2023
A former officer grapples with the reality of our broken police culture
Our society has long been stuck in cultural and ideological battles about police brutality and the police force's broken relationship with our communities. Rethinking the Police promises to start a more hopeful conversation.
Daniel Reinhardt spent twenty-four years as a police officer near Cleveland, Ohio. He was long unaware of the ways the culture of the police department was shaping him, but gradually, through his own experiences as a police officer and through the mentorship of Black Christians in his life, his eyes were opened to a difficult truth: police brutality against racial minorities was endemic to the culture of the system itself.
In Rethinking the Police, Reinhardt lays out a history of policing in the United States, showing how it developed a culture of dehumanization, systemic racism, and brutality. But Reinhardt doesn't stop there: he offers a new model of policing based not in dominance and control but in a culture of servant leadership, with concrete suggestions for procedural justice and community policing.
"With impeccable research and long-lived experience, Daniel Reinhardt is winsome in his words about policing and peace. No matter where you land on issues of policing, systemic racism, justice, and the way to peace, there is something to learn in Rethinking the Police. Part confessional and part plea, Reinhardt refuses to demonize any one entity and puts forth a realistic pathway to reform in our communities and world."
-Lore Ferguson Wilbert, author of A Curious Faith and Handle with Care
"Daniel Reinhardt calls people of goodwill to act against police violence, terror, and the inhumane treatment of Black people in America at the hands of the police. He advocates police reforms that focus on internal structures of police organizations, and he highlights the links between systemic racism, police brutality, and the organizational culture of policing with all the frailties of human failure. In the book, the us-versus-them mentality emerges as a component of the police subculture that serves as the normative framework for police-community interactions. Reinhardt argues that the foundation of police violence solutions requires a Christian response rooted in understanding the nature of police culture. "
-DeLacy Davis, founder of Black Cops Against Police Brutality
"In Rethinking the Police, Daniel Reinhardt speaks not as an outsider but as an insider who served as a police officer for twenty-four years, retiring as a lieutenant. With vulnerability, storying, and invaluable research, Reinhardt offers a thoughtful critique addressing attitudes and practices that contribute to a negative police culture within the United States. In this book, the author invites readers to consider a model of policing that reflects Jesus' life and words on leadership. Moreover, as you read, Reinhardt's burden to see police departments and American neighborhoods flourish is evident. Please look at the author's path forward if you want to see both policing and communities thrive."
-Jamaal Williams, lead pastor of Sojourn Church Midtown and president of the Harbor Network
"Reinhardt speaks with the heart of a Christian leader, the experience of a retired law-enforcement officer, and the wisdom of a scholar. He not only recognizes real problems in police culture but also provides hope for a better way. Readers are not likely to agree with all of his conclusions, but his analysis of the problems is compelling and the uniqueness of his solution is challenging."
-Timothy Paul Jones, chair of the Department of Apologetics, Ethics, and Philosophy at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and coauthor of In Church as It Is in Heaven: Cultivating a Multiethnic Kingdom Culture