"The Police and the Public" by Albert J., Jr. Reiss

The Police and the Public Albert J., Jr. Reiss

The Terry Lectures Series
Publication date:
01 Feb 1973
Yale University Press
304 pages:

Riding with patrol cars in four major northern cities, walking with policemen on the beat, observing what goes on in police stations, analyzing who telephones the police, what crimes are reported, who reports them, and why, Albert J. Reiss, Jr., seeks to understand the ways in which we can make our society more civil, our police more humane, our population more responsible. 

Reiss devotes most of his first chapter to describing the experiences of two police officers during an ordinary night in a patrol car.  He then considers the many ways in which police and public interact – and how and why they often do not.  In a chapter entitled “Police Manners and Morals,” the author investigates situations where policemen may themselves break the law – and how such actions relate to the subculture of an individual neighborhood or beat.  Finally, Reiss outlines his understanding of how we may become a more civil society, presenting his view that the morality of the public and the morality of the police are intimately related, that one cannot be expected to improve unless the other does.