National Police Week: Exploring Law Enforcement Lives and Leadership

Being a police officer is a dangerous job. The officer’s family members worry every day that she or he will be safe while on duty. A police officer’s retirement party is a happier occasion than any other professional retirement: not only has the officer concluded a successful career, but the officer has also survived—it is a lucky day, since police officers do put their lives on the line every day.

Today as I took the Metro (Washington, DC’s subway), I saw dozens of law enforcement officials, friends and family all heading to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial for the 25th annual candlelight vigil tonight for the many fallen Federal, state and local law enforcement personnel, just as we were putting the finishing touches on our own collection of Law Enforcement books for the occasion.

National-Police-Week_Law-Enforcement-Books-at-GPO-BookstoreThus, we are reminded that it is National Police Week, an annual commemoration held every May to honor the work of law enforcement officers and to honor the sacrifices of officers who have fallen in the line of duty in the previous year and add their names to the memorial. GPO would like to honor the day as well, by discussing two recent titles that deal with the dangerous careers of law enforcement officials.

Two recent Federal publications that highlight the dangerous lives and leadership challenges of law enforcement officers include Police Leadership Challenges in a Changing World and 2011 The FBI Story.

Police Leadership Challenges in a Changing World

Police-Leadership-Challenges_Report-coverPolice Leadership Challenges in a Changing World is a report in PDF format that discusses the difficult issues relating to integrating a new generation of recruits into the force of established officers. Traditionally, police organizations foster a “paramilitary culture and industrial-type bureaucracy”. Younger officers come from a generation used to a more dynamic environment, in part due to their experiences of growing up in the Web generation. Police management staff will need to learn to adjust to these different experiences of the younger recruits and learn how to exploit their skill set as strengths for the organization. At the same time, management needs to work with older staff to grow them into the idea of utilizing the different dynamics of the younger recruits. Communication and a tight-knit team are key requirements for successful police work. Police leaders will have considerable issues that they can turn into significant resources with some thoughtful adaptation of older and younger officers’ working styles.

Police leaders—especially if they come from the “paramilitary culture” are going to have to struggle against their own habits if they want to make the organizational culture more open to change and accountability. According to the report, the paramilitary culture does not allow for change and accountability much—it’s designed to provide routine—and today’s citizens are going to have different expectations of the force that is supposed to protect them.

The FBI Story

2011-The-FBI-Story-ISBN 9780160902574

In the report 2011 The FBI Story, the writers cover the stories of major events that happened during the report year. Each page covers a different story.

Some of the stories are historical pieces, such as page 13, subtitled “A Byte Out of History: Early African-American Agents”, which gives brief but fascinating vignettes of early agents, including the probable first African-American agent of the FBI, James Wormley Jones, and a father and son team working in Los Angeles from the 1940s through the 1970s, Special Agents Jesse and Robert Strider.

Other interesting stories include the capture of James “Whitey” Bulger, the takedown of a casino cheating ring, the indictment of a human trafficking ring which involved 600 Thai victims, the Bureau’s ongoing search for the I-35 bank robber bandit in Texas, reviews of cutting edge forensic techniques and investigative technologies, and a quick look at some of the major cases of the report year. It’s a fascinating review of one of the more exciting government agencies, and the report is easily accessible for any adult audience to read.

If you’re curious to know what your police force is doing in their day-to-day service, reading one of these reports will give you a good idea of the challenges of being a police officer. The reports are also of high interest for criminal justice students, scholars, and law enforcement professionals from the uniformed service all the way to supervisory criminal investigators and chiefs.

And if you’re in Washington, DC, tonight, drop by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, stop by the Candlelight Vigil and leave a rose in honor of those who sacrificed all to keep the rest of us safe. If not, click below to watch the live webcast online, United By Light, and to dedicate a candle to a special law enforcement officer:

2013-National-Police-Week-DC-United-by-Light-Candlelight-Vigil-Simulcast

How can I obtain a copy of these publications: Police Leadership Challenges in a Changing World and 2011 The FBI Story?

Or explore our entire collection of Law Enforcement print and electronic publications on the U.S. Government Online Bookstore.

Adapted by Government Book Talk Editor and U.S. Government Online Bookstore Manager Michele Bartram from a post written for the FDLP Community Blog by guest blogger Jennifer Davis from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP).

4 Responses to National Police Week: Exploring Law Enforcement Lives and Leadership

  1. Angelia Ruckle says:

    Really enjoyed this blog article.Thanks Again. Really Great.

    Like

  2. dig this says:

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  3. […] As National Police Week kicks off in Washington, DC, we review two books on our Government Book Talk blog that explore law enforcement lives and leadership: http://govbooktalk.gpo.gov/2013/05/13/national-police-week-exploring-law-enforcement-lives-and-leade… […]

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