American Police, A History: 1945-2012: The Blue Parade, Vol. II
Thomas A. Reppetto
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Postwar America saw few changes to law enforcement in one hundred years. The little known San Francisco riot of August 1945 announced the violent events of the next half century. Most of the methods remained unchanged until the 1953 kidnapping of Bobby Greenlease in Kansas City, Missouri, that shook the country.
The 1960s were dominated by civil rights struggles and major riots. Watts, Detroit, and Newark demonstrated how local police departments were unable to handle the disorders that engulfed those cities.
The anti-war protest at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention is important to this narrative since the author was in charge of convention security. The police department was split on how to deal with the protestors: a major revelation of this book. The author also turned down an offer to become part of a unit later known as the "plumbers" made to him personally by Attorney General John Mitchell.
The 1970s and '80s are the lowest points in modern American law enforcement until the emergence of "zero tolerance" by New York Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 9/11 changes the landscape with the new focus on counter terror and new challenges to law enforcement.
Thomas Reppetto began as a police officer, rising to Commander of Detectives in the Chicago Police Department. In 1970 he received a PhD in public administration from the Harvard School of Government. He taught at the John Jay College of the City University of New York and became dean of graduate studies, then vice president. He is retired and lives in the New York City area.
chief of the four-hundred-officer St. Louis County Police Department and finally, in the 1970s, became commissioner of the twenty-five-hundred-officer Boston Police Department. 4. One time I was stunned when a high-ranking police official in charge of a major investigative bureau told me he had not of heard of, much less read, James Q. Wilson’s The Investigators. When I loaned him a copy, he never opened it. In contrast, military officers have been exposed to texts on Desert Storm and the Iraqi
difficulty of property crime investigations is probably influenced by the time I spent as commander of the largest burglary investigation squad in the United States. 2. Which is not to argue that the Colorado murder did not deserve attention, but the ones in Georgia also should have become well known nationally. 3. Although solved it was not cleared by arrest. 4. According to one writer on the Ramsey case, the Boulder PD had only sixteen detectives to handle all criminal investigations and the
the three were street cops. Hoover and Parker were strict disciplinarians with an autocratic personal style. Wilson (at least, when I worked for him) played the “dear old dean.” The three all got their biggest job with a mandate to clean up a law enforcement agency in the aftermath of scandals such as Teapot Dome, Brenda Allen or the Summerdale burglars. Hoover and Parker entrenched themselves in their jobs, where they remained until their deaths. Wilson could never have done so in Chicago. In
him. A detective sergeant had a hiring official call Speck to tell him that he had found a ship for him, but the suspect would not bite. When fingerprints found at the scene were determined to match those of Speck, the public was alerted to be on the lookout for him. With his picture in the papers and on television Speck fled to the near North Side skid row district along Clark Street with my detectives following right behind. Again, they just missed him at several locations. Realizing he was
their town. Rizzo put hundreds of cops on municipal buses and sent them roaming through the city or stationed them at strategic locations.3 Some people objected to the show of force, but most Philadelphians loved it. A poll showed that eighty-four percent of the respondents, including a majority of blacks, approved of Rizzo’s actions. More importantly, Philadelphia did not experience any major civil disorder. Rizzo personally was present every time there was a serious incident. After a police