Abstract

The article discusses notions of police scholars propounded by review essayist Richard Leo. The current generation of sociolegal scholars pursuing police studies are integrating American and European traditions to generate a new body of critical inquiry, uncovering new insights about the meaning of policing, pursuing issues of policing ignored in the 1960s and connecting police practices to processes of state formation and legitimacy. This latter focus includes critical scholarship about community policing, an area of inquiry that Leo claims is fully under the grip of the policy audience. As for the pull of the policy audience, Leo offers no empirical evidence that the state has deeper pockets today, in comparison to the 1960s and the early 1970s, for enticing young scholars to its agenda. Instead, he lists a number of policy-driven funding sources that are fueling applied police scholarship while not mentioning that these same organizations have been engaged in these practices since the 1960s.

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