Rethinking the Police: An Officer's Confession and the Pathway to Reform, By Daniel Reinhardt alt

Rethinking the Police

An Officer's Confession and the Pathway to Reform

by Daniel Reinhardt

Rethinking the Police
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Published: November 21, 2023
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0613
  • ISBN: 9781514006139

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A former officer grapples with the reality of our broken police culture

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.

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.

"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's book 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 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

"In Rethinking the Police, Daniel Reinhardt has given us a learned and helpful introduction to problems in American policing and has offered a compelling vision for possible reforms. This is a book that Christians, law enforcement officers, and anyone else who cares about justice and safety will want to read and take seriously."

Aaron Griffith, assistant professor of history at Whitworth University and author of God's Law and Order: The Politics of Punishment in Evangelical America

"Rethinking the Police is a rare example of an author who speaks to changing the long-standing, seemingly insurmountable challenges of police legitimacy in our most challenged communities through understanding history and police culture. Daniel Reinhardt talks from personal experience about social distance, dehumanization, and power as challenges to be addressed. A much-needed, thought-provoking look at a way forward."

Daniel Hahn, retired police chief

"Reinhardt’s insights into the police mindset are sharp and perceptive . . . . a worthwhile guide for those seeking an end to police brutality."

Publishers Weekly, September 2023

"At its most successful, the book’s argument simply connects the dots between the history and hierarchical structure of police departments, the 'toxic leadership' bred into the system, and the biased enforcement patterns that result."

Mike Shutt, Christianity Today, October 23, 2023

Read an Excerpt


Introduction: Awakening to Cultural Blindness

Part 1: Drifting Away from Peace Toward Abuse and Brutality
1. A 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. Bias and Brutality: The Fruit of Culture and Ethics

Part 2: The Pathway Back to Servanthood and Peace
5. Servant Leadership and Followership: Foundations for Police Leadership
6. Creating a New Vision for Police Leadership: The Servant-Shepherd Model
7. Finding True North: The Moral Compass Leading to Peace
8. Transformation Through Leadership: Creating a New Culture of Servanthood
9. A New Strategy of Peace: Procedural Justice and Community Policing
10. Impacting a Hurting Demographic: Building Positive Identities



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Daniel Reinhardt

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.