Descriptive and analytical, the text is designed to offer undergraduate students a balanced and up-to-date overview of who the police are and what they do, the problems related to policing, and the many reforms and innovations that have been attempted. Divided into four parts, The Police in America begins with a compelling analysis of the foundation of law enforcement, including the underlying purpose of police in society, the history of American police, as well as the contemporary law enforcement industry. It goes on to cover everything from the critical role of the beat cop and the fundamental problems in policing to the career path of police officers and a level-by-level overview of police organizations. Using timely articles and excerpts, the author takes readers beyond the headlines and statistics, to present a comprehensive and contemporary overview of what it means to be a police officer. The book is designed primarily for undergraduate students enrolled in their first course on the police or law enforcement. It is not a police management text, or a book on criminal procedure.