The End of Policing

The End of Policing

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The bestselling bible of the movement to defund the police, in an updated edition

The massive uprising following the police killing of George Floyd in the summer of 2020--by some estimates the largest protests in US history--thrust the argument to defund the police to the forefront of international politics. It also made The End of Policing a bestseller and Alex Vitale, its author, a leading figure in the urgent public discussion over police and racial justice.

As the writer Rachel Kushner put it in an article called "Things I Can't Live Without", this book explains that "unfortunately, no increased diversity on police forces, nor body cameras, nor better training, has made any seeming difference" in reducing police killings and abuse. "We need to restructure our society and put resources into communities themselves, an argument Alex Vitale makes very persuasively."

The problem, Vitale demonstrates, is policing itself—the dramatic expansion of the police role over the last forty years. Drawing on first-hand research from across the globe, The End of Policing describes how the implementation of alternatives to policing, like drug legalization, regulation, and harm reduction instead of the policing of drugs, has led to reductions in crime, spending, and injustice. This edition includes a new introduction that takes stock of the renewed movement to challenge police impunity and shows how we move forward, evaluating protest, policy, and the political situation.

Reviews

  • The End of Policing’s great strength lies in demonstrating that if the shape of American policing is historical, it is also contingent. We could have made different choices regarding how we set about securing the public against the array of threats that confront it, and — refreshingly, at this moment of general despair — Vitale believes we still can.

    Adam GreenfieldLA Review of Books
  • Unfortunately, neither increased diversity in police forces nor body cameras nor better training make any seeming difference. We need to restructure our society and put resources into communities themselves, an argument Alex Vitale makes very persuasively.

    Rachel KushnerNew York Magazine
  • The End of Policing combines the best in academic research with rhetorical urgency to explain why the ordinary array of police reforms will be ineffective in reducing abusive policing. Alex Vitale shows that we must move beyond conceptualizing public safety as interdiction, exclusion, and arrest if we hope to achieve racial and economic justice.

    Ruth Wilson Gilmore