Book Review: Weisburd, D., & Braga, A. A. (Eds.). (2006). Police Innovation: Contrasting Perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. xx, 367

Published date01 March 2008
Date01 March 2008
Subject MatterArticles
Having said that, the reader who is willing to put up with these limitations will find that
Juvenile Justice in the Making is a good read.
Ido Weijers
Utrecht University
Fagan, J., & Zimring, F.E. (Eds.). (2000). The changing borders of juvenile justice: Transfer of adolescents to
the criminal court. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Rosenheim, M.K., Zimring, F.E., & Tanenhaus, D.S. (Eds.). (2002). A century of juvenile justice. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Weisburd, D., & Braga, A. A. (Eds.). (2006). Police Innovation:
Contrasting Perspectives. New York:
Cambridge University Press. pp. xx, 367.
DOI: 10.1177/0734016808314543
In Police Innovation: Contrasting Perspectives, David Weisburd and Anthony A. Braga
have assembled a robust, comprehensive and timely anthology that deftly surveys the most recent
policy initiatives that have been both lauded and castigated by the public and the media, as
well as by academics and practitioners. The spectrum of the innovations referenced is
broad, and certain of the strategies are more immediately recognized than others. This is,
however, a compendium that is certainly worth a close read by law enforcement policy
makers and analysts, as well as students and scholars in the criminal justice academy. The
format chosen by the authors works most effectively in offering divergent perspectives on the
various policy initiatives referenced; the reader is offered the standpoints of both advocates
and critics of the strategies that have been implemented by law enforcement agencies of all
stripes during the past two decades.
The ubiquitous sea change in police innovations originated in a crisis in confidence that
characterized the American urban polity, beginning in the late 1960s and continuing through
the next decade or so, according to Weisburd and Braga. Police “innovation” such as exists
in the early part of the 21st century is the legacy and the remnant of policies initiated during
the 1980s and 1990s.
The book begins with Skogan and Mastrofski squaring off over the promises and broken
promises of community policing in its many and various iterations, although the debate (as
in most of the chapters) is far from contentious, since the “critics” and “advocates” in many
of these policy skirmishes often see the merits of the opposing perspectives. This is part of
what makes this anthology work so swimmingly well. When Skogan touts the strategic
advantages and the decentralization, problem solving, and citizen “coproduction” that purport
to be the hallmarks of cutting-edge innovation in community policing, he is met squarely
by Mastrofski’s “philosophy-not-a-program” (PNAP) observation critical of the refrain
reflexively expressed by community policing proponents who suggest that if the strategy
fails it will be because of a lack of appreciation for and an understanding of the philosophy
110 Criminal Justice Review

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