The literature of law enforcement
By Maria Kiriakova
In this issue, Law Enforcement News introduces its readers to the broad sweep of current literature in the field of law enforcement, with an annotated bibliography of original printed materials that have been released since 2000. (Books said to be forthcoming in the near future, but not published as of March 2002, are not included.) Only commercially published and distributed non-fiction books are cited here. Government documents or materials published by nonprofit organizations, as well as introductory college textbooks and books that received unfavorable reviews have not been considered. Second editions or any other subsequent editions of the books published earlier have been included only in rare instances, and only if these editions have been significantly revised or updated.
The information about the books was collected from various sources: book reviews published in Law Enforcement News; book announcements and publishers’ catalogs received by the Lloyd George Sealy Library at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; professional library science literature, and a thorough online search of a number of bibliographic data bases. The latter included Criminal Justice Abstracts, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, WorldCat (a catalog of libraries around the world), Web pages of publishing houses and Internet bookstores. The majority of the books included here were published in North America, with some published overseas that the editor believed to be of potential interest to readers.
The citation for each entry includes basic bibliographic information plus an annotation. To the extent possible, we have attempted to locate critical and evaluative reviews rather than simply providing descriptive notes from the Criminal Justice Abstracts or NCJRS data bases. The sources of each annotation are indicated in parentheses. Some of the books that had no published reviews available are accompanied by annotations compiled by the editor. In this case, no source information is given. Due to space limitations, some annotations have been abridged, or the most appropriate one was chosen from among many others available.
Prices are not included, given that they can fluctuate for a variety of reasons, not least of which being the format of the book. And with the proliferation of competing online bookstores that offer both new and used books, it should be not hard for readers to shop around for a better deal than list price. (Please note that the staff of Law Enforcement News cannot assist readers in obtaining any of the works listed.)
The publishing world has changed rapidly over the past few years. More and more books are now published simultaneously in paper and electronically. The on-line availability of materials listed in here has not been verified. Readers are encouraged to check the electronic book collections of the libraries they are affiliated with, both public and academic.
As any other bibliographic work, this literature review aspired to be comprehensive but could not be deemed complete. One of the handicaps was the absence of a published review or the physical unavailability of the book itself, thereby making the examination of an item by the editor impossible. And, to be sure, space limitations and the editor’s subjective opinion were also factors that guided what would be included and what could be put aside.
The entries are arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name within a range of subject categories, with some of those categories broader than others. One of the most difficult tasks in compiling this bibliography was assigning the specific subject category to a book. In fact, the multidisciplinary nature of the literature collected in the bibliography covers wider areas of knowledge than the categories by which the editor attempted to organize the books here. Moreover, some titles clearly could have fit under more than one heading. The objective was not to put labels on the titles, but rather provide the readers with a wide spectrum of interests and concerns addressed in the most current literature on policing.
The authors represented include academicians, criminal justice practitioners, journalists, information technology specialists and scientists, to name just a few. They are men and women from different age groups and backgrounds, and living in different countries. The works include biographies and memoirs, historical studies and experimental replications, policy developments and statistical analyses, and even how-to books. The disciplines represented range from the social sciences and legal studies to medicine and the humanities.
James Sheptycki, in his “Issues in Transnational Policing” (Routledge, 2000), observed that “the study of policing has been reduced to two streams. On the one hand are the scholars interested in policing society, and on the other are those interested in policing the police. Some are interested in a synthesis of these two concerns.…” While this might be the right description of the mainstream publishing trend in police studies, the research interests of many scholars and practitioners have started bringing to light other facets of policing. For example, books that address police work from a psychological point of view fall outside these two major motifs. Another example is studies on policing strategies in the era of transnationalism and globalization. As Sheptycki himself acknowledges: “There are a myriad number of transnational practices that impinge on policing in local contexts. In a time of such flux, the narrowing of ‘police studies’ to a one-two combination (what works in policing — how to make policing accountable) cannot be so easily maintained.”
Globalization has brought other problems to the field of police science that had not previously been so epidemic. Among them are such contemporary vices as drug trafficking, money laundering and cyber-crimes. Rapid developments in computers and information technology have had several different impacts on law enforcement: bringing enhancements to daily police work, creating new types of offenders who use computers for crimes, and establishing a new field of science — computer forensics. Along with books that address these issues, we have included how-to books geared toward hackers, for their importance in providing a glimpse into the minds and tools of these new types of offenders.
The tragic events of Sept. 11, violence in the Middle East, war in Chechnya, unrest in India and many other countries all demonstrate the extent to which terrorism has become a fact of daily life around the world. The volume of literature published on the topic is substantial, and growing. It is remarkable how many books on domestic and international terrorism, as well as biological, chemical and nuclear attacks, were published before September 2001. Would that more people responsible for prevention of and response to terrorist attacks had contemplated these studies earlier. The interpretation of the causes of terrorism and approaches to the struggle against it vary among the authors included in this bibliography, but they all agree that all nations have to consolidate their political and law enforcement resources in the pursuit of peace.
Policing has become one of the most visible of occupations — seen daily on the streets and amply depicted on television and in the movies — as well as one of the most frequently and heavily criticized professions. Research shows that portrayals of police brutality, racial profiling and corruption do little to improve the positive image an agency is striving to attain. This raises alarms among police officials, and many of the books included in the bibliography address such issues. There are also those books that report about positive experiences or suggest strategies for improving the job performance and public image of police officers.
For centuries, published works have been one of the most important means of scholarly communication. It is the editor’s modest expectation that this bibliography will serve as a vehicle for the better dissemination of such communication within policing. It is a key part of what Law Enforcement News has long endeavored to do.
(Maria Kiriakova is a reference librarian and assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has contributed articles to the Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment, the Encyclopedia of New York State, and the Encyclopedia of Terrorism. Her article, “Death Penalty in Russia: 1900-2000,” will be published in the International Journal of Legal Information in the Fall 2002.)