The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America

Penguin Pr. Jun. 2021. 512p. ISBN 9780525558194. $30. MEMOIR
In this latest work, Bratton, a former police chief of Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles, addresses head-on the role of police. Bratton, who previously collaborated with co-author Knobler on The Turnaround: How America’s Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic, relies on the work of academics, such as James Q. Wilson, to construct his view of “precision policing.” This personal narrative is a chronological account of Bratton’s ascent from Boston patrolman to two stints as New York police commissioner and seven years in Los Angeles. To his credit, he clearly explains his views on police bias and bail reform (which he opposes). He believes that effective policing should be like cancer treatment: diagnose a problem and treat it quickly. With frankness, he explains why he supports community policing but prefers metrics over imagery in fighting crime. He concludes by advocating for police forces to have strong management, clear internal messaging, ample resources, and customer engagement. Bratton is pro-police, but he does acknowledge horrific police violence, like the killing of George Floyd (“It was 100 percent a murder,” he says), and argues that Black Lives Matter is important. He concludes by looking to continued improvement in policing.
VERDICT A candid, even-handed account that is highly recommended for popular collections. A natural fit for libraries where The Turnaround circulated well.
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