BEHIND THE SHIELD by Arthur Niederhoffer


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The public eye is trained on the policeman--how do policemen view the public? This is only one of the questions covered by the author's ambitious study of law enforcement, as an ailing bureaucracy, as a subculture with its own code of values, as an institutional organ of our changing cities. He filters a mass of sociological and psychological material, as well as his long experience in the profession. His inferences to and from data, social contexts and theory are suggestive and rarely glib. Finding cynicism and ""anomie"" among policemen, he contends that their behavior and ideology are influenced more by the demands of their jobs than by basic ""authoritarian personality"" elements. Such conclusions offer a fruitful perspective on immediate issues, including graft, ghetto relations, Supreme Court decisions and civilian review boards. Neither an apologist nor a superficial critic, Niederhoffer has produced a first-rate, cliche-busting exploration of a powerful establishment, and his forecasts deserve attention (even if they won't have the popular pull of Justice in the Back Room- p.633). The author, formerly a member of New York's finest, now is an assistant professor of sociology at Hofstra University.

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1967
Publisher: Doubleday