American law enforcement is a system in crisis. After explosive protests responding to police brutality and discrimination in Baltimore, Ferguson, and across the country, debate over ways to reform the police continues to rage. For all the disagreement, though, people on both the left and right mostly take for granted that innovative technologies can only help.
As Matt Stroud’s deeply reported book demonstrates, however, tools such as Tasers and body cameras are overhyped and often ineffective. Instead of wrestling with fundamental questions about their work, police leaders have looked to technology as a silver bullet, and allowed corporate interests to insinuate themselves ever deeper into the public institution of law enforcement.
Vividly tracing the development and deployment of these technologies, from the infamous Rodney King beating to the present, Thin Blue Lie is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand how policing became what it is today.