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December 12, 2023 44 mins

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TCD Podcast - Season 6 - Episode 118

What does it truly mean to be a police officer in today's America? Can police departments adapt, innovate, and transform their culture to better serve their communities? Join us as we explore these questions with Dr. Neil Gross, a sociologist from Colby College and a former short-term law enforcement officer in California. We talk with him about the changing landscape of policing, spotlighting innovative police departments across the United States - from Stockton, California, LaGrange, Georgia, to Longmont, Colorado. 

In our chat, we discuss police and academia, tracing the evolution of this complex relationship over time. Neil takes us behind the curtain, revealing how social scientists have observed policing since the 50s and 60s, and the pervasive feeling of stigmatization within the police force. We also talk about the parallels and self-selection processes in both academia and law enforcement, and the reasons why professors and scientists may lean more liberal. 

In our chat with Dr. Gross, he shares some laudable efforts of police chiefs like Lou Deckmar, who transformed the LaGrange, Georgia police department with a steadfast commitment to the rule of law, equity, and professionalism. We also draw insights from Neil's experiences teaching sociology to undergraduates, sparking critical thinking and fostering open discussions about policing. This conversation is a great listen for anyone eager to grasp the complexities and opportunities within police departments today. Tune into The CopDoc Podcast!

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