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Thoughts on the book thus far? Any resonances with The Wire or things that seem to clarify or contradict each other?

2 Responses to “Open thread on first half of Cop in the Hood”

  1. Emily McCabe says:

    This book would have been immensely helpful at the beginning of the course in sorting out the technicalities of the world portrayed in the first season of the wire (for example the overview of the jobs on and off the street in the drug trade, hours, types of drugs and packaging, importance of police reports etc.). Reading the book, many of the terms and procedures of the drug and legal world become much clearer and the intricacies of what police can and cannot do on patrol more holistically defined. In addition I was impressed by the humorous tone of some parts of the text. Dealing with incredibly serious material Moskos still finds a way to keep the reader engaged and impressed with the humanity of the officers on the force. I was particularly amused by his comments on domestic abuse and the questions he has to pose to find out whether a case qualifies under that legal heading. (What is this person to you? Have you hit it?) The section on Baltimore slang was also an interesting read.

    I was sort of unhappy to hear his assessment of police academy and the six months of somewhat useless training he endured there. It seems counterintuitive that if the number one thing taught to him and the other trainees was that they should protect themselves and make it home at the end of each day, then why isn’t the training system examined and improved? I imagine this problem has financial roots but it is still upsetting.

    The section dealing with the Terry vs. Ohio case and its use and misuse in relation to finding contraband drugs and weapons was also surprising and interesting and served as another concrete example of the procedural shortcuts and legal loopholes we see on the show all the time. I generally associate them with Levi and his corrupt practice but the book indicates that in a profession with as much regulation and paperwork as the law and police force these manipulations are necessary to focus on more important case work.


  2. Jake Moritz says:

    What surprised me after reading the first 100-odd pages of “Cop in the Hodd” is that it doesn’t reveal much that isn’t in The Wire. Some sections on cop-cop relations and the personal anecdotes are interesting and provide detail, but on the whole much of what is written is perfectly visible and easily understood in The Wire. The lack of new information is a testament to The Wire and its ability to transmit so many complicated and important ideas and facts about being a cop in Baltimore.


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