Greek Americans: Struggle and Success (3rd edition). Transactions. 2013.
In Defense of Flogging. Basic Books. 2011.
Cop in the Hood. Princeton University Press. 2008.
Selected Other Publications:
For media apperances a complete list of publications, see the CV.
Review: Rise of the Warrior Cop, by Radley Balko. PDF
Lockdown Nation: How military-style policing became America's new normal.
Pacific Standard. July/August 2013.
Paramilitary police tactics were designed, Balko writes, “to stop snipers and rioters-people already committing violent crimes.” Today, however, SWAT teams are used mostly “to serve warrants on people suspected of nonviolent crimes.” Paramilitary raids on American homes, which just four decades ago seemed extraordinary, have become common, as has legal forgiveness for any “collateral damage.” The Supreme Court has by and large acquiesced, creating a string of drug-related exceptions to the Fourth Amendment.
Occupy and Police. Full Text
Slate.com. "Which Side Are They On: How cops really feel about the Occupy Wall Street protests." November 14, 2011.
Occupy is supposed to be about economic injustice, not the police. The majority of protesters are peaceful and mean well; the majority of the public respect, if not the substance of the protesters, the right to protest; and the majority of police officers—who, unlike the protesters, would certainly prefer to be elsewhere—do not want to become the focal point of protesters’ fury. And yet there the police are, center stage, day in and day out. Wherever the protests go, police have to come reluctantly along for the ride, stuck in the middle, like poor Unlucky Pierre.
Collars for Dollars. Full Text
Reason. July, 2011.
In the police world, there are good arrests and better arrests, but there is no such thing as a bad arrest. In recent years, measures of “productivity” have achieved an almost totemic significance. And because they are so easy to count, arrests have come to outweigh more important but harder-to-quantify variables such as crimes prevented, fights mitigated, or public fears assuaged
In Lieu of Prison, Bring Back the Lash. Full Text
Washington Post. June 15, 2011.
Suggest adding the whipping post to America’s system of criminal justice and most people recoil in horror. But offer a choice between five years in prison or 10 lashes and almost everybody picks the lash. What does that say about prison?
In Defense of Doing Nothing: The Methodological Utility of Introversion. PDF
Ieva Zake and Michael DeCesare (eds.). New Directions in Sociology: Essays on Theory and Methodology in the 21st Century. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. 2011.
My goal is modest: to introduce a psychological concept—introversion—into the sociological world. A greater awareness and understanding of introversion could help current and future ethnographers appreciate and exploit natural skills beneficial to qualitative fieldwork, particularly the difficult and overlooked early stage of participant-observation research.
In Defense of Flogging. Full Text
Chronicle of Higher Education. April 24, 2011.
A crazy idea came from a dinner in New Orleans. I had cold-called (or whatever the e-mail equivalent is) a writer and his wife because I was a fan of his work and thought we had much in common. They were gracious enough to arrange a meal and treat me, without much justification, as a professional equal more than a stalker. The conversation turned to corporal punishment in public schools. They were amazed not that such a peculiarity existed in a city ripe with oddities, but that such illegal punishments were administered at the urging of and with the full consent of the students' parents. "Fascinating," I drolly replied, but I wasn't shocked.
Review: Seven Shots: An NYPD Raid on a Terrorist Cell and Its Aftermath by Jennifer Hunt. PDF
Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations. Vol. 11(1): 90-92, 2011.
Groundbreaking in academic research, revealing deep levels of understanding of police at the human, institutional, and cultural levels, Hunt demonstrates how sociology in general and ethnography in particular can and should reclaim their rightful place at the forefront of public awareness, policy decisions, and intellectual discussion.
Time to Tell. Full Text — PDF
Washington Post. June 4, 2010.
My father ... came up with the concept and coined the phrase ["don't ask don't tell"]. He had lots of crazy ideas. But this one, I declared, was "the stupidest idea you've ever come up with."
A few months later ... "don't ask, don't tell" was the law of the land.
Today ... I am convinced that my father would support the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell.
Feet on the Street: Why we need foot patrol.
Full Text — PDF
New York Post, June 23, 2003.
Why does it take six calls and 90 minutes for police to “handle” a call for drinking and disorderly people on a slow
Sunday morning? Because police are out of touch with the
areas they are meant to serve. There’re no cops walking the
The difference between a group of people quietly hanging
out and the same group of people being disorderly or even
threatening is too subtle for a police officer to determine if
isolated in a squad car. Yet any pedestrian or foot officer
can immediately tell when something is amiss.
On Academic Writing and Style: A sociologist’s response to an anthropological account. PDF
PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review. Vol. 33 (S1), May 2010.
The more jargon and sociobabble we anthropologists, sociologists, and ethnographers spew out--the more we strive to define ourselves as literate scribes in an academic temple--the more irrelevant we become.
Aping quantitative science is not the answer. Imagine if all poetry had to conform to the structure of a haiku. ... [Who] would remember "Casey at the Bat" if it were written like this: mighty casey swings – oh two two on down by two – no joy in Mudville.
I just wish more academics would worry about the Elements of Style as much as they obsess over the whims of anonymous reviewers and straitjacket themselves with journal orthodoxy.
Why You Never Chase. Full Text
West Side Spirit. February 26, 2010.
Karen Schmeer’s death is more than a simple tragedy. Karen wasn’t just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Karen might be alive if police did not bend or break the exact rules put in place to prevent this kind of senseless death.
The NYPD pursuit policy is based on the only effective way to reduce the danger of a car chase: don’t do it. For police, it's as simple as it is unsatisfying.
Juking the Stats. Full Text
Copinthehood.com. February 17, 2010.
Sergeants, lieutenants, captains and inspectors feel intense pressure to produce ever better stats. To some extent this can be good. Police are paid to work. But the pressure to produce more with less is as overwhelming as it is unrealistic. Mind you, the orders never come from above to just make numbers up, but when commanding officers talk about “productivity,” the rank-and-file hear “quotas.”
From Amsterdam: Lessons on controlling drugs. Full Text — PDF
Washington Post. October 25, 2009.
In Amsterdam, the red-light district is the oldest and most notorious neighborhood. Two picturesque canals frame countless small pedestrian alleyways lined with legal prostitutes, bars, porn stores and coffee shops. In 2008, I visited the local police station and asked about the neighborhood's problems. I laughed when I heard that dealers of fake drugs were the biggest police issue -- but it's true.
Angels in Blue: The Virtues of Foot Patrol.PDF
The American Interest. Sep/Oct, 2009.
The pattern today is when police start driving, they never "walk foot" again. That represents a loss for community and police alike. Foot patrol officers knew their neighborhood because in a real sense they were part of it. Beat cops watched people grow up, get jobs, or get in trouble.
Just as overtime pay drives discretionary arrests, extra pocket money would change the very culture of patrol. Officers need to want to walk foot, and more money is a way to make them want it. Only with willing officers does foot patrol bring the best possible benefits.
It's Time to Legalize Drugs. Full Text — PDF
Washington Post. August 16, 2009.
Only after years of witnessing the ineffectiveness of drug policies ... have we and other police officers begun to question the system.
Drug manufacturing and distribution is too dangerous to remain in the hands of unregulated criminals. Drug distribution needs to be the combined responsbility of doctors, the government, and a legal and regulated free market. This simple step would quickly emiminate the greatest threat of violence: street-corner drug dealing.
A Cops' Eye View of the Gates' Arrest. Full Text — PDF
Baltimore Sun. July 31, 2009.
Every police/public confrontation ends up in one of three ways: the suspect 1) leaves the scene, 2) defers to police authority, or 3) gets locked up. Mr. Gates couldn't do the first option, he refused to do the second, so he virtually begged for number three. It was certainly wrong, in this situation, to arrest Mr. Gates. But can it ever be right to cuff somebody for "contempt of cop"? The short answer is: yes.
Two Shades of Blue: Black and White in the Blue Brotherhood.
Law Enforcement Executive Forum. Vol. 8(5). September 2008.
Black and white police officers have different attitudes towards the role of police in society, police department politics, and the minority community. A common ground of police identity is found in conservative social beliefs and opposition to “ghetto” culture. But attitudinal similarities do not negate differences between the races. Black and white police do not blend into the same shade of blue.
Drugs Are Too Dangerous Not to Regulate. Full Text — PDF
U.S. News & World Report. August 4, 2008.
Drugs are bad. So let's legalize them.
It's not as crazy as it sounds. Legalization does not mean giving up. It means regulation and control. By contrast, criminalization means prohibition. But we can't regulate what we prohibit, and drugs are too dangerous to remain unregulated.
The Better Part of Valor:
Court-Overtime Pay as the Main Determinant for Discretionary Police Arrests. PDF
Law Enforcement Executive Forum. Vol. 8(3). May 2008.
Discretionary arrests are more influenced by officer-based variables than any suspect-based variable. The discretionary will—even whim—of individual police officers, the desire to make an arrest, is the best predictor of arrest numbers. Desire for court overtime pay is the single more important factor affecting the quantity of discretionary arrests. Age and morale are also significant causal variables.
Against Prediction by Bernard Harcourt. Full Text — PDF
American Journal of Sociology. 2008. Vol. 113(5).
Under the medieval system of tything, individuals could be held responsible for the misdeeds of others in their collective group. In the movie Minority Report, set in the near future, criminals are incarcerated before they commit their crimes. Our present system of justice, according to Bernard E. Harcourt’s Against Prediction, combines the worst of both worlds. “The quest for prediction,” Harcourt writes, “has distorted our conception of just policing by emphasizing efficiency over crime minimization. Profiling has become second nature because of our natural tendency to favor economic efficiency.”
911 and the Failure of
Police Rapid Response. PDF
Law Enforcement Executive Forum. 2007. vol. 7(4).
No police officer is ever promoted to beat cop. Foot patrol is most often a form of punishment. While the public generally favors increased foot patrol, the opposition
to foot patrol in the police organization is strong. Recognizing the failures and limitations of the status quo is the first step to
better patrol: 911 calls dominate police far more than rapid response impacts
Driving While Black. Full Text — PDF
New York Times, July 30, 2006.
The police officer in me is suspicious of any effort to
quantify a job that is — or at least should be — qualitative.
But the professor in me loves police data on race.
Race is a factor in America and a factor in effective
policing. Racism should never be.
Breaking Rank by Norm Stamper. Full Text — PDF
Law Enforcement News, September, 2005.
Pity poor Norm Stamper. He would have liked nothing more
than to write a book extolling the virtues of community policing
and a greater police focus on domestic violence. A hard-working liberal police officer for 33 years, he rose from San
Diego beat cop to chief of the Seattle Police Department.
Then came the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle. Massive
protests and riots turned the city into chaos. Chief Stamper
later resigned, admitting that he and his police were woefully
unprepared for the scale of protests. Stamper’s name is now
cursed by both ends of the political spectrum, albeit for
different and often diametrically opposed reasons.
Take the Violence Out of the Drug Trade. Full Text — PDF
Baltimore Sun, August 3, 2004.
The only way to disarm the drug culture is to take the profit
out of street-level drug-dealing. Drug legalization and
regulation are the answer. Why leave the profits to those
who perpetuate violent culture?
Legalizing drugs would not be a silver bullet. But drug
prohibition must be recognized as a good intention gone
terribly wrong. The war on drugs destroys neighborhoods,
enriches drug dealers and promotes a culture ruining the
lives of our cities’ youths. Drug prohibition is a failure. It’s
time to try something else.
Balancing Security and Liberty. Full Text — PDF
The Washington Post, August 2, 2004
The only way to prevent creeping use of implied consent is to
limit the doctrine of plain view. Before searching a person,
the government must choose either plain view or implied
If the government must search without probable cause, let it
search, but only for illegal weapons or bombs. If security
outweighs the Fourth Amendment, the scope of such
searches must be limited to objects representing a clear and
present danger to public safety. Any unrelated suspicious or
illegal objects found must be ignored.
Old-School Cops in a New-School World. Full Text — PDF
The Washington Post, August 5, 2003.
One school of thought -- call it old school -- believes in the
moral righteousness of hitting back.
New-school police believe in cuffing suspects and writing
Though we demand new school behavior from our police,
most police officers are firmly old school. Old-school police
believe that the disrespectful deserve a “good thumping.” It’s
Victims of the War on Drugs. Full Text — PDF
The Washington Post, July 09, 2003.
If the war on drugs were winnable, we would already have
won it. Drug prohibition criminalizes large segments of the
population, even the majority in some areas.
Those at the receiving end of our drug policy know it simply
doesn’t work. People will riot as long as police keep locking
them up without anything getting better.
Separate the problems of drug use from the violence of the
drug trade. Acknowledge that drugs are bad, but don’t
frame drug policy as a moral war against evil.
Afro-Anglo: America’s Core Culture. PDF
National Journal of Sociology. 1995. vol. 9(2).
There exists a Core Culture in American which is shared by all people inasmuch as they are American. This Core Culture is a consolidation of Anglo-American and Afro-American culture. While many authors view the black experience as distinct and separate from the core American experience, this paper argues that American Core Culture is uniquely defined by its Afro-Anglo nature—a blend of both the Afro and the Anglo culture, history, and experience. That Afro-Anglo culture has not been recognized as America’s Core Culture is due both the Eurocentrism of the dominant paradigm of American culture, and the Afrocentrist competing paradigm of a separate black American culture. Afro-Anglo Core Culture recognized the oneness of whites and blacks together as part of the American experience.
For media apperances a complete list of publications, see the CV.