Around the country in the past few years, police have come under attack, sometimes for good reason, but usually with unnecessary violence that attacks and institution that was built on the premise of protecting our society and making it safe for everyone. Blue Lives Matter arose in response to not only Black Lives Matter, but also to direct attacks on police officers and other first responders around the nation. According to their website, “Blue Lives Matter seeks to honor and recognize the actions of law enforcement, strengthen public support, and provide much-needed resources to law enforcement officers and their families.”  Here are five books you should read if you believe that Blue Lives Matter and want to learn more about what our first responders deal with on a daily basis.

War on Cops by Heather Mac DonaldThe War on Cops exposes the truth about officer use of force and explodes the conceit of “mass incarceration.” A rigorous analysis of data shows that crime, not race, drives police actions and prison rates. The growth of proactive policing in the 1990s, along with lengthened sentences for violent crime, saved thousands of minority lives. In fact, Mac Donald argues, no government agency is more dedicated to the proposition that “black lives matter” than today’s data-driven, accountable police department. Mac Donald gives voice to the many residents of high-crime neighborhoods who want proactive policing. She warns that race-based attacks on the criminal-justice system, from the White House on down, are eroding the authority of law and putting lives at risk. This book is a call for a more honest and informed debate about policing, crime, and race. 

Street Warrior by Ralph Friedman
2,000 arrests. 100 off-duty arrests. 6,000 assists. 15 shootings. 8 shot. 4 kills. These are not the performance statistics of an entire NYPD unit. They are the record that makes Detective 2nd Grade Ralph Friedman a legend. Friedman was arguably the toughest cop ever to wear the shield and was the most decorated detective in the NYPD’s 170-year history. Stationed at the South Bronx’s notorious 41 Precinct, known by its nickname “Fort Apache,” Friedman served during one of the city’s most dire times: the 1970s and ‘80s, when fiscal crisis, political disillusionment, an out-of-control welfare system, and surging crime and drug use were just a few of its problems. Street Warrior tells an unvarnished story of harrowing vice and heroic grit, including Friedman’s reflections on racial profiling, confrontations with the citizens he swore to protect, and the use of deadly force.

Vigilance by Ray Kelly

Two-time New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly opens up about his remarkable life, taking us inside fifty years of law enforcement leadership, offering chilling stories of terrorist plots after 9/11, and sharing his candid insights into the challenges and controversies cops face today. In this vital memoir, Kelly reveals the inside stories of his life in the hot seat of “the capital of the world”-from the terror plots that nearly brought a city to its knees to his dealings with politicians, including Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama as well as Mayors Rudolph Giuliani, Bloomberg, and Bill DeBlasio. He addresses criticisms and controversies like the so-called stop-question-and-frisk program and the rebuilding of the World Trade Center and offers his insights into the challenges that have recently consumed our nation’s police forces, even as the need for vigilance remains as acute as ever.

Cop Under Fire by David Clarke
America has become increasingly divided and polarized in recent years. With growing racial tension, animosity toward law enforcement professionals, government corruption, and disregard for the constitutional process, there seems to be no easy answer in sight. But Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke knows where we must begin: we must stop blaming others; look at our problems with open eyes; take ownership of our family, community, and country; and turn to God for solutions. Deeply rooted in Sheriff Clarke’s personal life story, this book is not a dry recitation of what has gone wrong in America with regard to race. It’s about the issues that deeply affect us today—both personally and politically—and how we can rise above our current troubles to once again be a truly great people in pursuit of liberty and justice for all.

The Turnaround by William Bratton
When Bill Bratton was sworn in as New York City’s police commissioner in 1994, he made what many considered a bold promise: The NYPD would fight crime in every borough…and win.  It seemed foolhardy; even everybody knows you can’t win the war on crime.  But Bratton delivered.  In an extraordinary twenty-seven months, serious crime in New York City went down by 33 percent, the murder rate was cut in half–and Bill Bratton was heralded as the most charismatic  and respected law enforcement official in America..  In this outspoken account of his news-making career, Bratton reveals how his cutting-edge policing strategies brought about the historic reduction in crime.Bratton’s success made national news and landed him on the cover of Time.  It also landed him in political hot water.  Bratton earned such positive press that before he’d completed his first week on the job, the administration of New York’s media-hungry mayor Rudolph Giuliani, threatened to fire him.  Bratton gives a vivid, behind-the-scenes look at the sizzle and substance, and he pulls no punches describing the personalities who really run the city.

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member