Law enforcement is a fascinating topic and so, with countless books existing, you might be stuck wondering what to read next. Whether you are an active or retired police officer, or even a civilian law enforcement aficionado, the following titles will be a good read for you.
Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas
During his twenty-five-year career in the FBI Investigative Support Unit, Special Agent John Douglas became a widely known figure as a result of profiling dangerous criminals such as Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Ed Gein (also known as the Butcher of Plainfield) and the BTK Killer (Dennis Rader).
With no shortage of detail, Douglas recounts his experiences as an FBI detective, while also describing the way in which he managed to relive both the killer’s and the victim’s actions in his mind after examining each crime scene.
Originally released in 1995, this book has come back to the spotlight once again thanks to the Netflix-produced series, ‘Mindhunter’, which is mostly based upon it. This is not the first time this book has been used for inspiration, though; The Silence of the Lambs character Jack Crawford was largely modelled after Douglas.
Find it on Amazon here (Amazon rating: 4.7/5 from 3,493 reviews).
Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families
Generally, what drives someone to pursue a career in law enforcement is a genuine interest for safeguarding the wellbeing of their community. However, some police officers have been called out for abandoning their initial idealistic attitude and replacing it with a more ‘power-based’ one.
The main aim of this Amazon Best Seller is to provide an insight into the factors that influence this change in behavior, as well as the trends observed in officers whose morale deteriorated through the years.
According to the book, the emotional burden of a law enforcement career is to blame for this shift in conduct, and officers’ personal and professional lives are affected because of it. Most importantly, officers in these circumstances often see their judgement clouded, which may lead to serious administrative difficulties as a result of poor decision making.
Reception of the book has been quite positive; a Google Books reviewer, who has worked in law enforcement for over 25 years, left a comment expressing his gratitude towards this book for providing clarity for all the questions and concerns he had from the beginning of his career. Citing its accurate and credible point of view, he went on to claim that reading this book should be made mandatory in police training.
Find it on Amazon here (Amazon rating: 4.8/5 from 1,139 reviews).
Blood Lessons by Chuck Remsberg
Writing for Police Magazine, law enforcement specialist Doug Wyllie cites this title as one of his all-time favourites.
According to him, shortly before he started his career as a police writer, a friend advised him to read as many books written by Chuck Remsberg as possible. Wylie was never an officer himself, yet he was perfectly acquainted with the way law enforcement worked; something he and Chuck Remsberg had in common.
He started by reading some of his most popular works such as Street Survival, The Tactical Edge, and Tactics for Criminal Patrol. However, it wasn’t until he read Blood Lessons when he realised how much he enjoyed reading Chuck Remsberg.
In this book, Rembserg recounts harrowing experiences of police officers who were involved in critical accidents. The way in which the author describes each story in precise detail captivated Wyllie and, according to him, is the main reason why the book had such a big impact on him during the early years of his career.
Find it on Amazon here (Amazon rating: 5/5 from 7 reviews).
Building a Better Gunfighter by Dick Fairburn
Focusing on the importance of improving marksmanship, mechanics and mindset, the author shares some useful ideas on how to improve the chances of survival in a gunfight; one of the most challenging scenarios for even the most experienced officer.
Fairburn also analyses individual and team tactics, as well as the events that take place in the aftermath of an officer-involved shooting. Furthermore, this book’s teachings can apply to police officers, soldiers and citizens alike, since this book can be a great tool to foster a more competent use of guns.
2010 Law Enforcement Trainer of the Year, Dave Spaulding wrote:
“Dick Fairburn just might have written the definitive work on gunfighting. Not just about fighting, mind you, but on how to create a gunfighter. It’s all here: mindset, tactics, and techniques…everything but the individual willingness to training and practice.”
Find it on Amazon here (Amazon rating: 3.8/5 from 6 reviews).
Cult of Glory: The Bold And Brutal History of the Texas Rangers by Doug J. Swanson
Having emerged in the early 19th century, when Texas was still within Mexico’s borders, the Texas Rangers remain one of the best known law enforcement agencies. In this book, author Doug J. Swanson explores the white-dominated structures that led to the proliferation of the Rangers, as well as the role played by them during the Mexican-American War, where they fought alongside US soldiers.
Once the US emerged victorious from the war and Texas was incorporated into the United States, development soon came. By the end of the century, the Rangers were now in charge of patrolling the US-Mexico border and protecting oil boomtowns, until they were transformed into a professionally trained police force in the 1930s.
Their impact on American pop culture is widespread; numerous movies, television shows and novels have portrayed the Rangers in a celebratory fashion, despite existing knowledge of several wrongdoings such as the killing of a number of Mexican civilians during the Mexican-American war.
The book, also an Amazon Best Seller, aims to establish consensus on both the positive and negative aspects of the history of the Texas Rangers.
Find it on Amazon here (Amazon rating: 4.4/5 from 250 reviews).
What’s your pick?
Although the titles discussed in this article are highly diverse, they all have something in common; law enforcement officials and civilians interested in the matter can learn from them. We hope you enjoy reading whichever you’ve chosen!