THE PEOPLE AND THE POLICE by Algernon D. Black

THE PEOPLE AND THE POLICE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Algernon Black, religious leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, was a civilian appointee (and chairman) of New York City's short-lived and controversial Civilian Review Board, created to receive civilian complaints against the police. This is Mr. Black's informal report and evaluation. Beginning with a general survey of problems faced by the police--their original orientation, the danger, the difficulties--the author reviews the genesis of the Board, continues through the variety of complaints handled, the processes and categories of cases. In spite of a backlog due to the Board's late start, the seven members (highly representative of the community) covered a remarkable number of incidents, although they were hampered by inadequate educative channels to the community. The defeat of the Board in the New York election was due, Mr. Black feels, to an overly emotional, ill-informed electorate, and no Board member was allowed to speak in its defense. At no time were the Board members split into police and civilian factions; a large number of cases were successfully concluded by conciliation; police and civilians on the Board educated one another to a deeper understanding of situations under investigation. Beyond what Mr. Black feels are the practical successes of the Board, are other more general reasons for instituting similar boards, mainly a need for civilian control over the way ""force and authority is used"" and with the enlarged role of government, recourse in the event of abuse of that authority. A quiet and reasoned contribution in the increasing furor over the role of the police in the community.

Pub Date: July 30th, 1968
Publisher: McGraw-Hill