Rethinking the Police

Rethinking the Police

An Officer's Confession and the Pathway to Reform

by Daniel Reinhardt

Rethinking the Police
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: November 21, 2023
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-1-5140-0612-2
  • Item Code: A0612

"For decades, I refused to accept what was painfully obvious for so many: police brutality against minorities is not an issue of a few isolated and disconnected incidents but a systemic condition of a compromised institution."

Daniel Reinhardt spent twenty-four years as a police officer near Cleveland, Ohio. He was long unaware of the ways the culture of the police department was shaping him, but gradually, through his own experiences as a police officer and through the mentorship of Black Christians in his life, his eyes were opened to a difficult truth: police brutality against racial minorities was endemic to the culture of the system itself.

In Rethinking the Police, Reinhardt lays out a history of policing in the United States, showing how it developed a culture of dehumanization, systemic racism, and brutality. But Reinhardt doesn't stop there: he offers a new model of policing based not in dominance and control but in a culture of servant leadership, with concrete suggestions for procedural justice and community policing.

Our society has long been stuck in cultural and ideological battles about police brutality and the police force's broken relationship with our communities. Rethinking the Police promises to start a more hopeful conversation.

"With impeccable research and long-lived experience, Daniel Reinhardt is winsome in his words about policing and peace. No matter where you land on issues of policing, systemic racism, justice, and the way to peace, there is something to learn in Rethinking the Police. Part confessional and part plea, Reinhardt refuses to demonize any one entity and puts forth a realistic pathway to reform in our communities and world."

Lore Ferguson Wilbert, author of A Curious Faith and Handle with Care

"Daniel Reinhardt calls people of goodwill to act against police violence, terror, and the inhumane treatment of Black people in America at the hands of the police. He advocates police reforms that focus on internal structures of police organizations, and he highlights the links between systemic racism, police brutality, and the organizational culture of policing with all the frailties of human failure. In the book, the us-versus-them mentality emerges as a component of the police subculture that serves as the normative framework for police-community interactions. Reinhardt argues that the foundation of police violence solutions requires a Christian response rooted in understanding the nature of police culture. "

DeLacy Davis, founder of Black Cops Against Police Brutality

"In Rethinking the Police, Daniel Reinhardt speaks not as an outsider but as an insider who served as a police officer for twenty-four years, retiring as a lieutenant. With vulnerability, storying, and invaluable research, Reinhardt offers a thoughtful critique addressing attitudes and practices that contribute to a negative police culture within the United States. In this book, the author invites readers to consider a model of policing that reflects Jesus' life and words on leadership. Moreover, as you read, Reinhardt's burden to see police departments and American neighborhoods flourish is evident. Please look at the author's path forward if you want to see both policing and communities thrive."

Jamaal Williams, lead pastor of Sojourn Church Midtown and president of the Harbor Network

"Reinhardt speaks with the heart of a Christian leader, the experience of a retired law-enforcement officer, and the wisdom of a scholar. He not only recognizes real problems in police culture but also provides hope for a better way. Readers are not likely to agree with all of his conclusions, but his analysis of the problems is compelling and the uniqueness of his solution is challenging."

Timothy Paul Jones, chair of the Department of Apologetics, Ethics, and Philosophy at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and coauthor of In Church as It Is in Heaven: Cultivating a Multiethnic Kingdom Culture


Introduction: Awakening to the Problem

Part I: Drifting Away from Peace Toward Abuse and Brutality
1. History of the Police: From Promising Beginnings to Abuse
2. Police Culture: Social Distance, Dehumanization, and Abuse
3. Toxic Leadership and the Hierarchy of Power: Contributing to a Dangerous Culture
4. Systemic Racism and Brutality Through Police Culture and Ethics: Zero-Tolerance Policing

Part II: The Pathway Back to Servanthood and Peace
5. Servant Leadership and Followership: Foundations for Police Leadership
6. Leadership Synthesis: Creating a Servant-Oriented Model for Police Leadership
7. Transforming Through Leadership: Creating a New Culture of Servanthood
8. A New Strategy of Peace: Procedural Justice and Community Policing
9. Impacting a Hurting Demographic: Building Positive Identities



Daniel Reinhardt (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) served as a police officer near Cleveland, Ohio, for twenty-four years. After retiring from the police force, he was assistant professor at the Heart of Texas Foundation College of Ministry at the Memorial Unit, a prison in Rosharon, Texas. Currently, he is associate director of student life and applied ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Yvette.