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The Real Police



ISBN 0-9753722-0-3
Library of Congress Control Number: 2004092241
Published September, 2004 by The Wind Gap Press, Seattle
Copyright 2004 David Ziskin. All rights reserved.
hard cover. intended for adult general readership.
241 numbered pages plus front matter, totaling 256 pages.

The Real Police is about what it is really like to be a street cop and why it should be done differently.

The real police are the cops who work the street - the people that are first on the scene of trouble. They are not supervisors or administrators. They have the most important job in police work, and they make all of the important decisions. They also have the lowest status in the hierarchy.

The author uses his twenty years on the street, mostly in Seattle, to show readers aspects of police work that have not been portrayed in popular media.

Look into a part of urban life that few people know. Learn about life on Skid Road, the art of patrolling, the dynamics of police humor, and other things, along with some fascinating social history. Meet amazing characters and gain an appreciation for the traditions established by generations of the real police.

The author served during the last of the old era of street policing, and then through the period of greatest change. The bridge between eras was forged by the real police, who passed down their experience and taught by example, despite the inept bureaucracies of their departments.

Written in a conversational way, this book is a basic education in the realities of policing, and will give readers the context and background to understand why the job should be done differently. The Chief of Police in your town won't like this book, but you will.


David Ziskin is a retired police officer. He now pursues business interests and does consulting work for selected clients. This is his first book.

The Real Police is a wonderful read. David Ziskin is an insightful and literate cop's cop; a twenty-year street vet who has seen the best and worst of urban life. Witty, wise and full of stories the police usually tell to only one another, the book puts forth an uncommon view of the police world told with force and insider perspective. Part memoir and part social commentary, Ziskin takes the reader on a tour of Seattle's always changing Skid Road with a sharp eye for character and place. The writing is crisp, amusing and rests on the moral authority of one who knows his beat. If ever one wanted to know the argument for the continuing relevance of old fashioned beat policing in today's mobile and transitory world, David Ziskin lays it out sharply in these pages.
John Van Maanen
Erwin Schell Professor of Organization Studies
(Author of Tales of the Field)