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Policing Beyond Coercion: A New Idea for a Twenty-first Century Mandate, First Edition

  • Robert J. Kane
Series / Aspen Criminal Justice Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents
Robert Kane’s Policing Beyond Coercion proposes a fresh paradigm for conceptualizing the police.

In Policing Beyond Coercion, Robert Kane introduces a powerful narrative that encourages policing to move beyond its traditional paradigm with its emphasis on coercion and control. Kane opens by offering a definition of police – based largely on the seminal writings of Egon Bitner and Carl Klockars – and then applies that definition to the police role, arguing that it is time for society to think of policing as an institution whose primary role is to protect life – even when enforcing the law or using force. Kane describes and explains the police subculture, use of force, discretion, recruitment, and accountability and then demonstrates how a protection of life mandate can help policing adapt itself to remain a crucial public institution in a post-George Floyd world. Kane speaks to readers in ways that encourage them to question their assumptions about who the police are while asking them to think about who the police might become.

Professors and students will benefit from:
  • A compelling narrative that will keep readers engaged throughout the book
  • A solid foundation in policing, police operations, and strategies
  • An understanding of current role expectations and conflicts
  • A new take on police culture and the “thin blue line” of policing
  • Detailed examinations of stop-and-frisk, use of force and deadly force, discretion, and accountability
  • A push to change the current police recruitment paradigm from one that mostly “screens-out” to one that mostly “screens-in”
  • The introduction of a “new” idea of police that helps policing remain relevant in a post-George Floyd era
  • Non-print materials to support students’ engagement with the book and its concepts:
    • Dynamic, online mapping exercises that allow students to analyze police and criminal behavior in real time
    • Blog posts that address emerging topics in the news and encourage students to discuss them with the author and others
    • Podcasts that highlight personal perspectives from police professionals
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Professor Materials
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About the authors
Robert J. Kane
Drexel University

bRobert J. Kane, PhDb, is Professor and Department Head of Criminology and Justice Studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia. His primary research interests include police authority and ac- countability; communities, crime, and health; and technology and justice. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Kane (with his academic mentor, James J. Fyfe) completed a study of police misconduct in the New York City Police Department—to date, the largest study of misconduct ever conducted in a U.S. police agency. Since then, Kane has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on police misconduct, legitimacy, and accountability in the NYPD, culminating in his 2014 book, iJammed Up: Bad Cops, Police Misconduct, and the New York City Police Departmenti (NYU Press, coauthored with Michael D. White). In 2011, Kane and his colleagues were awarded a grant from the Nation- al Institute of Justice to examine the effects of Taser exposure on cognitive functioning (Michael D. White served as Principal Investigator; Kane and Justin Ready served as Co-Principal Investigators). The project concluded in 2013 and remains the only randomized controlled trial of the Taser conduct- ed outside the purview of Axon Enterprises (the company that owns Taser). Results from his Taser research informs public policy in the area of police interrogations, specifically addressing the length of time police departments should wait before interviewing suspects who have been “Tazed” (and who tend to suffer substantial declines in cognitive functioning) by police officers. In January 2022, Kane was funded to conduct a randomized controlled trial of Project SCOPE in conjunction with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority Police Department (Dr. Jordan Hyatt is the Co-Principal Investigator). Project SCOPE is a modified police “co-responder” model that deploys social workers to subway stations in Philadelphia characterized by large numbers of vulnerable population members (e.g., people experiencing homelessness, ad- diction, and mental health crises). As part of SCOPE, social workers engage with vulnerable population members independent of the police (but while having access to officers in the subway stations as needed) in ways that (1) might help reduce disruptive (and illegal) behaviors in the subway system, and (2) link vulnerable individuals to much-needed city services. The primary goals of SCOPE are to reduce arrests, reduce conflict between police and members of vulnerable groups, and increase access to social services for those in need. Kane is also an advocate for international educational opportunities for students. He regularly takes students to Germany and the Czech Republic to teach about the rise of the Nazi police state (and authoritarian policing more generally); he has taken students to London to study the police and the British criminal justice system; and just before the pandemic, he developed a transnational policing class in conjunction with colleagues at the Israeli National Police Academy. Although the pandemic has thus far prevented him from taking students to Israel to take the class, he remains hopeful that 2023 will be the year!

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First Edition
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Policing , Criminal Justice, Introduction
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