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Depolicing: When Police Officers Disengage

Willard M. Oliver
Depolicing: When Police Officers Disengage
ISBN: 978-1-62637-755-4
ISBN: 978-1-62637-989-3
2019/185 pages/LC: 2018039358
"For individuals interested in understanding this phenomenon within the USA, they should first turn to Oliver's, Depolicing: When Police Officers Disengage." —Joshua T. Shadwick, Policing

"In this clearly written, well-organized account, [Oliver] systematically reviews the phenomenon of depolicing, carefully discriminating between what is mythical and what is substantive in relation to the claims about it.... offers a valuable overview of a consequential contemporary American policing issue."—Choice

"A must-read for those interested in contemporary policing issues.... Oliver provides a thorough overview of the depolicing phenomenon and presents valuable data from officers' first-hand experiences."—Scott Wolfe, Michigan State University


Depolicing—the withdrawal from proactive law enforcement by officers on the line—has become an increasing concern within both police departments and the communities that they serve. Willard Oliver, a former policeman himself, draws on extensive interviews with officers in a variety of jurisdictions to explore how prevalent depolicing has become, why officers engage in it, and what can be done to minimize it. With officer behavior under more and more intense scrutiny, Depolicing is a uniquely important contribution to ongoing debates.


Willard M. Oliver is professor of criminal justice at Sam Houston State University.


  • What Is Depolicing?
  • What We Know About Depolicing.
  • A Theoretical Framework.
  • Cops Talk About Depolicing I: How They See It.
  • Cops Talk About Depolicing II: Who’s to Blame?
  • Cops Talk About Depolicing III: Solutions.
  • Coming to Grips with Depolicing.
  • Appendix 1: Methodology.
  • Appendix 2: Interviewee Demographics.