IPT Book Reviews

Title: The Contours of Police Integrity   Positive Review Positive Review
Editors: Carl B. Klockars, Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovic, and M. R. Haberfeld
Publisher: Sage, 2003

Sage Publications
2455 Teller Rd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Phone: (805) 499-0721
FAX: (895) 499-0871
Price: $37.95 Soft

This is a frightening book.  It illuminates a truth about human life and what kind of people we humans are that most of try to avoid.

This is a hopeful book.  It illuminates a truth about us that most of us overlook.

The truth we often avoid is that we are a people caught in a desperate struggle between good and evil and evil often wins.  The very institutions and people whom we put out there to fight the battle against evil may not see it when evil stalks the streets, often ignore it, and cover it up if it shows itself within the group we send out to fight it.

The truth we may overlook is that constant vigilance, open eyed perception, and faith can and does overcome evil and produce good.

This book reports a study of the integrity of police forces and departments in 14 countries, including the U. S., Asian, European, and Islamic nations.  While there are wide variations in culture, values, procedures, and structures, there is a close agreement on what integrity is for police and on a fundamental principle that those acts punished most severely are those regarded most seriously.  Some countries work hard at maintaining the integrity of police and get the job done.  Those countries have police forces that demonstrate high levels of integrity, fairness, and responsible professionalism.  Others, including the U. S., have police forces that vary widely and may have much corruption in the organizations.

One finding across all countries is the worldwide prevalence of the code of silence.  Police do not report wrongdoing by other police.  The only hope is to trumpet loudly that all wrongdoing by police is punished severely.  Then the leaders must determine the quality and level of integrity in their departments.  The vigilance must be constant and continuous.

This book will help anyone concerned with the quality and integrity of police individuals and departments understand what it is and become more clear on how to assess and measure the level of integrity.  It merits wide reading, broad acceptance, and careful study.

Reviewed by Ralph Underwager, PhD,, Institute for Psychological Therapies.

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