Cover image for NYPD : a city and its police
NYPD : a city and its police
Lardner, James.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt and Co., 2000.
Physical Description:
xiv, 368 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A John Macrae book."
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV8148.N5 N94 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV8148.N5 N94 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
HV8148.N5 N94 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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An insider takes us behind the blue wall of America's biggest, baddest police forceFounded in 1845, the NYPD is the biggest municipal police force in the world, the oldest in the land, and the model on which the others-for better or worse-have patterned themselves. The authors-two seasoned experts of police operations-unearth the hidden truths behind the headline-making stories and explain how cops privately interpret incidents such as the shooting of Amadou Diallo and the Louima torture case. Episodes long forgotten-the campaign against German saboteurs in WWI, or the career of Joe Petrosino, the first Italian American in the ranks, who was gunned down in the streets of Palermo, Sicily-reveal an organization constantly fraught with turmoil, where an outward display of law and order belies the inner conflicts between politicos, bureaucrats, and the men and women on the beat.Beyond the inner life of a remarkable institution are the characters and stories, including baffling mysteries, horrific crimes, inspiring heroics, and dreadful scandals. NYPD illuminates the old maxim of the vet to the rookie on his first night on patrol: "Forget everything you learned in the academy, kid."Timely and sure to be controversial, NYPD will be essential reading for anyone interested in law enforcement in America.

Author Notes

James Lardner, a writer for The New Yorker & The Atlantic Monthly, has written cover pieces for The New York Times Magazine (including one on the NYPD). He is the author of "Fast Forward: Hollywood, the Japanese & the VCR Wars" & "Crusader: The Hell-Raising Police Career of Detective David Durk".

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The history of the NYPD, the largest, if not the oldest, U.S. municipal police force, may be more reflective of where city police forces have been and are going than many of us care to admit. In recounting the department's journey from its creation in 1845 to the notorious recent incidents involving Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima, the authors bring to life the history of U.S. policing, warts and all. This history and analysis of the NYPD makes much of the current contentiousness between police and citizens all too understandable. Lardner and Reppetto examine New York police practices from buying patrolmen's positions and promotions to protecting the interests of organized crime and Wall Street above concerns with ordinary street crime. However, the pattern of the NYPD, every 20 years or so of corruption followed by reform followed by corruption, makes for a telling backdrop for truly analyzing how modern urban citizens interact with an often alienating police system. --Vernon Ford

Publisher's Weekly Review

A comprehensive and elegant history of the New York Police Department, this book, written by a journalist (Lardner) and a former cop (Reppetto), charts the department's development, from its origins as a collection of unorganized watchmen in the 1820s to its recent past. In crisp, anecdote-rich prose, Lardner (a New Yorker contributor) and Reppetto (now president of New York's Citizens Crime Commission) take readers on a chronological tourDthrough the years when the department reluctantly adopted firearms and uniforms and when police applicants depended on patronage, through wave after wave of anti-corruption ferment, and through years of controversy. Drawing on sources ranging from the memoir of George Washington Walling, a 19th-century officer who saw action during most of the era's flashpoints (including the 1849 Opera House Riot and the 1863 Draft Riots), to newspaper accounts and legislative committee reports, Lardner and Reppetto assess the potential for good and bad in the city and on its police force. Along the way, they recount colorful stories about early gangs like the Dead Rabbits and Five Pointers; they examine the conflict between the Metropolitan Police and the Municipals, an early rogue offshoot; and they address the department's pendulum-like swings between corruption and reform (which, they note, gets activated every 20 years by a major scandal). They also depict the Giuliani administration's 1990s' "Rediscovery of Crime" and recent controversies like the deaths of Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond, both unarmed black men gunned to death by police officers. Arguing that the cop's lot has barely changed since the 1800s, the two authors assessDin a fair-minded wayDthe enduring relationship between a police force and their city. Their account is at once entertaining, historical and engaged with hard questions about the nature and politics of police workDa true accomplishment. 30 b&w illus. Author tour. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Given the seemingly endless number of books about the NYPD, police brutality, and corruption, one might think it difficult to find a refreshingly new and in-depth approach to the nation's oldest police force. But this history accomplishes such a feat. Lardner, who has written on the NYPD for The New York Times Magazine, and Repetto, president of New York's Citizens Crime Commission, examine the long history of New York's police from the 1820s, before the city organized them into a formal department, until the near present. In 1820, there were no housing projects, violent gangs, gun-toting drug dealers, or media scrutiny. As time passed, the department mirrored the waves of immigrants that moved to the city, beginning with the Irish in the 1840s, the Italians and Jews in the 1890s, African Americans from the Southern states after World War I, and, most recently, the Puerto Ricans. People who criticize some of the NYPD's controversial actions today might be equally shocked by past actions, which included the common practice of accepting graft, brutality against criminals (with media support), bribery, riots, and competing city police forces, manipulated by politicians. Both entertaining and insightful, this excellent book is highly recommended for all libraries.-Tim Delaney, Canisius Coll., Buffalo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ghosts on Patrolp. ix
1 A Cry from the Bottom of the Hudsonp. 3
2 "I Might as Well Carry a Club"p. 24
3 The Finestp. 50
4 The Great Detectivep. 72
5 "Down with the Police"p. 90
6 The Glorious Retreatp. 108
7 "So Many Races Up Against You"p. 125
8 "Just a Little Lieutenant"p. 146
9 The NYPD Goes to Warp. 169
10 Shooflyp. 191
11 The Celebrity Copsp. 213
12 Battle in the Leadp. 240
13 On the Padp. 261
14 Twenty and Outp. 275
15 "Dave, Do Something!"p. 292
16 The Rediscovery of Crimep. 313
A Note on Place-Namesp. 335
Sourcesp. 337
Acknowledgmentsp. 349
Indexp. 351