One Cop's Story of Patrolling America's Most Dangerous City

Book - 2011
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9 square miles. 10,000 criminals. 130 cops. A riveting memoir by Baker, California's most-decorated police officer Compton: the most violent and crime-ridden city in America. What had been a semi-rural suburb of Los Angeles in the 1950s became a battleground for the Black Panthers and Malcolm X Foundation, the home of the Crips and Bloods and the first Hispanic gangs, and the cradle of gangster rap. At the center of it, trying to maintain order was the Compton Police Department, never more than 130-strong, and facing an army of criminals that numbered over 10,000. At any given time, fully one-tenth of Compton's population was in prison, yet this tidal wave of crime was held back by the thinnest line of the law--the Compton Police.John R. Baker was raised in Compton, eventually becoming the city's most decorated officer involved in some of its most notorious, horrifying and scandalous criminal cases. Baker's account of Compton from 1950 to 2001 is one of the most powerful and compelling cop memoirs ever written--an intensely human account of sacrifice and public service, and the price the men and women of the Compton Police Department paid to preserve their city.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, c2011
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780312596873
Branch Call Number: 363.2092 BAKER
Characteristics: xvi, 410 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Rivele, Stephen J. 1949-


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BostonPL_JordanD Oct 04, 2014

Vice: One Cop’s Story of Patrolling America’s Most Dangerous City by Sgt. John R. Baker
Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room
Originally posted to the Teen Blog on 8/3/2011.

This is a nonfiction book that reads like a novel. The action starts at the beginning with a brief history of Compton, California and how it’s gangs got started, and doesn’t end until the last page. Sgt. “Rick” Baker tells the story of how the Compton Police Department fought to protect and serve their city in a time of gang wars, and how they fought against the city council and the city’s many mayors to get the support they needed to do their job.

These police officers were known to use forces other than their guns to bring criminals down. While the LAPD would shoot first and ask questions later, the Compton PD would handle cases in an entirely different manner seeing as they’d grown up with the criminals they were now fighting. Everyone knew everyone, and the criminals, though they worked against the law, respected the cops enough to call for help when an officer was down.

Does it matter whether the general public knows what the Compton cops did? Does it matter whether we know how hard they fought to keep themselves going when things weren’t looking so good? They were only 130 officers strong while they were outnumbered with 10,000 criminals. In the end one of those officers said it didn’t matter, because THEY knew what they’d done. But Sgt. Rick Baker knew the public needed to know the truth, and so he gave us Vice.

This is a book I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking for a good nonfiction read, a memoir, and the history of many of our most prominent gangs as well as the history of the city itself. Check it out TODAY!


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BostonPL_JordanD Oct 04, 2014

BostonPL_JordanD thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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