Thoughts on Policing a Free Society

"Most efforts to improve police functioning have gone forward on the assumption that prevention of crime and the apprehension of criminals are the primary tasks of th police. But these assumptions have been based more on the mythology surrounding policing than upon accurate assessment of what it is that police do. The police themselves perpetuate this myth. As a result, individuals are recruit d into the filed who may possess the characteristics required for dealing with criminals, but not necessarily the abilities that are essential for carrying out the multitude of other police tasks. The training they receive, which in the past has usually been based on the same stereotype of policing, does not provide instruction on how to deal with the incidents police most commonly handle. Many other aspects of police operations and management are affected by the same misconceptions."-Herman Goldstein, Policing a Free Society, 1977