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

2013 • 208 pp. 12 Tables 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Criminology / Discrimination & Race / Poverty & Homelessness

$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.

(Hardcover 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

Reviews / Endorsements

“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

The authors use rich qualitative data gleaned from observations of police work and interviews with police officers in two communities to describe the discretionary decisions that officers make as they “hunt” for criminals in poor and minority neighborhoods. They convincingly argue that there are institutional structures and organizational incentives that induce the police to patrol these neighborhoods more aggressively. The authors’ approach is critical, but balanced, and their recommendations for reducing the harm caused by discretionary proactive policing are reasonable.” —Cassia Spohn, foundation professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State 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.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:11:35 -0500