Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Scholarly Study of Police Special Operations Groups

Good cops do go bad. The question is why do young men and women who start with high ideals of community service succumb to temptation and turn into bad cops. The author, Soctt Silverii, spent most of his career in SWAT Teams, special operations groups or SOGs. Other special operations group involve undercover work for drug trafficking and other high risk areas. Silverii brings an insiders knowledge to the study of why good cops go bad.

Silverii's thesis is that the idealistic young cop is assigned to a SOG often because he or she is such a good cop. Then through a series of transitions the cop transfers his allegiance from the general police force to the SOG. Because of the nature of work in the SOG the cop is exposed to temptations and often encouraged to participate in activities he or she knows is wrong, but helps to bond with his group. The group effectively becomes the standard.

Silverii bases his analysis on interviews with cops from across the country. It's fascinating to read what they think about being in a SOG means and how it changes you. He believes that they talked to him, rather than other investigators, because of his background in the SOG.

He also give an extensive overview of police history in the United State. I found it fascinating, and it helped to explain how the police have evolved over time.

If you're interested in the psychology of closed groups, or police specifically, I recommend this book. The writing is scholarly. I believe it is based on his doctoral dissertation, and it reads that way. However, anyone familiar with social science research will not find that a problem.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.