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David A. Klinger

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David A. Klinger is Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He holds a BA in History from Seattle Pacific University, an MA in Justice from American University in Washington, D.C. and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington in Seattle. Prior to pursuing his graduate degrees, Professor Klinger worked for three and one-half years as a patrol officer for the Los Angeles and Redmond (WA) Police Departments. He has held research positions at the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C.; the University of Washington, Seattle; the Washington State's Attorney's Office; and the Seattle Police Department.


According to the book description of David Klinger’s book “What's it like to have official sanction to shoot and kill? In his often startling and sure to be controversial new book, David Klinger who himself shot and killed a suspect during his first year as an officer on the Los Angles Police Department answers this and many other questions about what it's like to live and work in the place where police officers have to make split-second decisions about life and death: The Kill Zone. Based on interviews that Klinger, now a university professor, conducted with scores of officers from around the nation who have shot people in the course of their duties, Into the Kill Zone tells readers about how police officers are trained to use their firearms, what happens when cops find themselves face-to-face with dangerous criminals, the excruciating decisions they have to make to shoot or to hold their fire, and how they deal with the consequences of their choices. From academy training to post-shooting reactions, Into the Kill Zone tells the compelling story of the role that deadly force plays in the lives of America's cops.”

One reader of Kill Zone said, “I thought the best way to begin this review is to start by stating what "Into the Kill Zone" is not. This book isn't: 1.) A graphic description of police shootings 2.) A psycho-social monograph on police officers who have shot people.

This isn't to say that there aren't elements of both of the aforementioned items contained within the book; however, those expecting copious amounts of blood and gore should look elsewhere while those dreading a dry, academic treatise should read on.

David Klinger is a Sociologist who teaches criminology at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. His qualifications to write on the topic of deadly force are unique and extend beyond his CV. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Klinger was a policeman. On July 25, 1981, just 4 months out of the Los Angeles Police Academy, 23 year old David Klinger was forced to shoot and kill a man who was attacking his partner with a butcher's knife. As might be expected, the shooting shocked the author and ultimately changed his career path. After another 3 years of police work, Mr. Klinger quit the force and entered graduate school. Eventually he earned his Ph.D. and in time, got a grant from the United States Department of Justice to study the impact of shootings on officers. The present book draws on the research.

Each of the 5 chapters of "Into the Kill Zone" consist of stories told in the officers own words. Additionally, the chapters all deal with deadly force in some way. Chapter 1 concerns how the officers came to choose a career in law enforcement and their thoughts on the prospect of using deadly force prior to joining the police force. Chapter 2 is about basic training and how it affected their attitudes vis-a-vis deadly force. Chapter 3 covers instances where officers held their fire even though shooting would have been legally acceptable. The 4th and longest chapter deals with the actual shootings. The final chapter attempts to demonstrate what occurs after shootings and how the shootings affect the police officers involved.

I think this book does an admirable job of giving one insight into the often thankless and always dangerous task of policing a free society. Dr. Klinger gives us the interviewees stories in a relatively unvarnished manner without interjecting too much of himself. The analysis that he does provide occurs largely in the introduction, the beginning and end of chapters and the epilogue. "Into the Kill Zone" is not intended to probe the causes of crime, explore police brutality or investigate social strife from a criminological perspective. Instead, Dr. Klinger wants to give us at least a glimpse into the world of those tasked with serving.”

Into the Kill Zone : A Cop's Eye View of Deadly Force
David Klinger  More Info
Police responses to officer-involved shootings: Executive summary
David Klinger  More Info

About the Redmond Police Department

Redmond is the seventh most populous city in King County and the sixteenth most populous city in the State of Washington, with a residential population of approximately 49,890 in 2006. It encompasses an area of over 16.85 square miles and is located less than 20 miles east of downtown Seattle at the north end of Lake Sammamish.


According to the Redmond Police Department Chief of Police, “The Redmond Police Department operates under the Redmond City vision of "Together We Create a Community of Good Neighbors" and with a department mission statement "To Provide Quality Policing In Partnership With The Community". We provide a high level of service and are a problem-solving department. We practice all facets of Community Policing and pride ourselves on using strategic planning to carry out our mission, goals and objectives. We strive to maintain the highest national standards and meet the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accreditation criteria. We recruit, hire, train and encourage career path development for our staff to meet the many and varied challenges we face. Personnel are involved in many levels of city, county, state, and national efforts to make sure the community is safe and gets high quality service. The department is advancing the use of technology in cars, at desks, and in the emergency dispatch center to provide the most up-to-date information to our staff to enable us to be efficient and effective. We are forming new partnerships with private sector security, youth coalitions and school districts as well as with other city departments to work on a variety of issues.”







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