When Harvard-trained sociologist Peter Moskos left the classroom to become a cop in Baltimore's Eastern District, he was thrust deep into police culture and the ways of the street--the nerve-rattling patrols, the thriving drug corners, and a world of poverty and violence that outsiders never see. In Cop in the Hood, Moskos reveals the truths he learned on the midnight shift.
Through Moskos's eyes, we see police academy graduates unprepared for the realities of the street, success measured by number of arrests, and the ultimate failure of the war on drugs. In addition to telling an explosive insider's story of what it is really like to be a police officer, he makes a passionate argument for drug legalization as the only realistic way to end drug violence--and let cops once again protect and serve. In a new afterword, Moskos describes the many benefits of foot patrol--or, as he calls it, "policing green."
A Harvard-trained sociologist, Moskos set out to do a one-year study of police behavior. Challenged by Baltimore's acting police commissioner "to become a cop for real," he accepted. During his six months in the police academy and 14 months on the street, he "happily worked midnights, generally the least desirable shift" in one of the city's least desirable precincts: the Eastern District (where HBO's The Wire is filmed). Moskos frankly records his experiences with poverty, violence, drugs and despair in the gritty ghetto. During "field training," he first encountered "drug dealers, families broken apart, urban blight, rats, and trash-filled alleys. Inside homes, things are often worse." Moskos's overview of policing problems covers everything from arrest quotas, corrupt cops and excess paperwork to the reliance on patrolling in cars, responding to a barrage of 911 calls, rather than patrolling on foot to prevent crimes. Moskos blends narrative and analysis, adding an authoritative tone to this adrenaline-accelerating night ride that reveals the stark realities of law enforcement while illuminating little-known aspects of police procedures.