Law enforcement is a unique profession, and almost all modern-day police officers go through academy training to prepare for their jobs. However, basic training simply can’t cover everything that officers need to know to succeed at their jobs and stay safe. That’s why it’s important for current and aspiring cops to expand their knowledge base. Reading these five books is a great place to start.
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People
This classic book by Dale Carnegie has fans in every profession. Although it was first published in 1937, the insights it offers into the human mind are timeless. Carnegie outlines the basics of how to handle people and make them like you, which are priceless skills for police officers. The book also explores how to help people change without making them resent you and how to win people over to your way of thinking. Rookie officers who need help navigating the communities in which they work as well as the politics of the police force will find excellent advice in How to Win Friends and Influence People.
2. We Get Confessions
Written by an experienced police officer who’s also a BowMac Basic Interview and Interrogation instructor, We Get Confessions outlines effective methods for interacting with suspects and witnesses. Author Albert Joseph applies real-world knowledge he gained working as a police officer to the task of helping current cops develop effective strategies for interviews and interrogations. This text goes beyond police academy basics to explore the intricacies of interrogations, Miranda Rights and confessions. In addition to providing useful examples of real-life interrogations, Joseph helps readers understand how to get confessions that can be used in court.
3. Tactics for Criminal Patrol
This essential text by Charles Remsberg is considered must-have safety and survival information for every police officer. Useful diagrams and charts are combined with real-world illustrations to help both rookie and veteran officers develop tactical skills to keep themselves safe on the job. In addition to covering the basics of both nighttime and daytime traffic stops, Remsberg explores drug investigation and detection techniques in depth. Designed as a supplement to the basics that every cop learns in the academy, Tactics for Criminal Patrol can be complemented by Remsberg’s other books, Street Survival and The Tactical Edge.
4. The Art of Deception
Every police officer encounters deceptive suspects and criminals on a regular basis. Understanding how to detect and counter deception is essential to making smart patrol and interrogation decisions. At its heart, this book is a primer on logic designed for students prepping for law school and for professionals in both the business and legal fields. Author Nicholas Capaldi uses a wealth of real-world examples to help readers learn how to defend a case, recognize a fallacy or lie, identify deception, win an argument, turn defeats into victories and persuade skeptics. This text goes beyond the basics of the field of logic to explore debates, nonverbal devices and the presentation of facts.
5. The New Centurions
Joseph Wambaugh is best known for his true crime masterpiece The Onion Fields, but his fictional work offers an excellent lens on the world of policing too. Set in L.A. in the ’60s, The New Centurions is more a psychological study on the effects of police work than it is a plot-driven novel. It was written by Wambaugh while he was still a cop and has unmistakable authenticity. The novel follows three officers as they deal with departmental politics, interact with minority communities and respond to the first Watts Riots. It’s a favorite among police officers because it’s a candid story about the stresses and rewards of working in law enforcement.
Nothing is more important to police officers than protecting the public and staying safe. Going beyond the standard academy training is a great way to accomplish those goals. Reading insightful books on policing is one way to expand your knowledge base.