The State of American Policing

Psychology, Behavior, Problems, and Solutions

by David J. Thomas, PhD, LMHC
Foreword by Jim Bueermann


Those most often shot by police are mentally ill or male, unarmed, and African American.

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Cover image for The State of American Policing

November 2018


Pages 210
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Psychology/General
  Current Events and Issues/Law and Crime

Written by a veteran police officer turned college professor, this modern-day study of American policing covers hot-button issues including police use of deadly force against and bias toward minorities.

Grounded in research of historical and current events, this text examines police practices and the psychological impact that those practices have on minority communities. Author David J. Thomas, a retired police officer and associate professor of criminal justice, looks at and beyond historical perspectives to address many of today's most controversial issues central to minority communities.

Topics covered include the repeated failure to convict officers for fatally shooting unarmed subjects, the rise of heated debates between the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements, the militarization of police agencies, and police response to protests by NFL players. The text also offers insight into the psychology of race, police culture, implicit bias, and the decision to use deadly force. Thomas additionally examines possible solutions to these problems. College students, researchers, academics, and readers interested in politics will find this work informative and thought-provoking.


  • Takes a multidisciplinary approach to the problem, covering police psychology, behavior, policy, and law
  • Addresses the proliferation of violence in minority communities
  • Examines the response of minority communities to police brutality and the shooting of unarmed Black men, in addition to the psychology of oppression within those communities
  • Illustrates signs that a police agency is faltering, how a community becomes disenfranchised from police and the consequences for law enforcement efforts, and quality assurance measures that could reduce or remove the problems
Author Info

David J. Thomas, PhD, LMHC, is a professor of forensic studies at Florida Gulf Coast University, Ft. Myers. A veteran police officer, Thomas is also a Senior Research Fellow with the Police Foundation in Washington, DC, and is a recognized expert on the use of force and police practices in the state of Florida and the Federal Court System. He is author of Understanding Violent Criminals: Insight from the Front Lines of Law Enforcement, Police Psychology: A New Specialty and New Challenges for Men and Women in Blue, and Professionalism in Policing: An Introduction.


2019 IPPY Award Silver Medal in Social Issues/Humanitarian Category — Independent Book Publishers Association

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