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Hunting for “Dirtbags”
Why Cops Over-Police the Poor and Racial Minorities
Lori Beth Way, Ryan Patten

Northeastern University Press
2013 • 208 pp. 12 Tables 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Criminology / Discrimination & Race

$35.00 Paperback, 978-1-55553-813-2
$85.00 Hardcover, 978-1-55553-812-5

$34.99 Ebook, 978-1-55553-814-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Cloth edition is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)

An inside look at police discretionary actions and their consequences for poor communities

This ethnographic study, which includes participant observation research and in-depth interviews with police officers in a major California city and a large East Coast city, explores how police officers use their discretionary time on the job—and the consequences. Providing highly textured insights into police discretion, the authors show that America’s “tough on crime” approach to justice has too often proved to be a smoke screen for controlling people deemed undesirable, rather than a genuinely effective strategy for reducing crime.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS


“If you’ve ever wondered why racial profiling, questionable stop-and-frisk practices, and mindless zero-tolerance policies are so pervasive and persistent in American policing, read this book. Way and Patten’s excellent analysis of ‘hunters, slugs, and community- builders’—the three types of officers policing our streets—will resonate with frontline cops, inform the uninitiated, and make clear why so many young people, poor people, and people of color distrust the police.” —Norm Stamper, Seattle Chief of Police (Ret.) and author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing

Hunting for ‘Dirtbags’ is an important piece of research on proactive policing. The authors illuminate aspects of officer discretion that have been neglected in studies of American policing and offer an interesting perspective on this perennial policy issue.” —Stephen Mastrofski, professor in the department of Criminology, Law and Society, and director of the Center for Justice Leadership and Management at George Mason University

LORI BETH WAY is a professor in the Department of Political Science, California State University, Chico. RYAN PATTEN is an associate professor in the Criminal Justice Program, California State University, Chico.

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:03:16 -0500