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Norm Stamper

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Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing
Norm Stamper  More Info

About the Seattle Police Department

The Department was established in 1886 and has evolved into one of the most well respected police agencies in the nation. In 2003, we became one of only a handful of agencies our size to be nationally accredited. The department employs approximately 1,200 sworn law enforcement officers and 700 civilian employees, all of whom continually provide quality service to Seattle's residents and visitors. Seattle remains one of the safest cities in the country.




Norm Stamper began his law enforcement career in San Diego in 1966 as a beat cop. In 1994, he was named chief of the Seattle Police Department, where he set about implementing many of the initiatives he writes about in Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing.


The book opens with a powerful letter to former Tacoma police chief David Brame, who shot his estranged wife before turning the gun on himself, Stamper introduces us to the violent, secret world of domestic abuse that cops must not only navigate, but which some also perpetrate. Stamper goes on to expose a troubling culture of racism, sexism, and homophobia that is still pervasive within the 21st century force, exploring how such prejudices can be addressed. He reveals the dangers and temptations that cops on the street face, describing in gripping detail their split second life-and-death decisions.


According to Ann Rule, “Stamper has written a tremendously important book, pulling no punches as he takes a searing look at law enforcement as it is — and as it should be. … Shocking, heartbreaking, hilarious and illuminating, Breaking Rank will attract both cops and ‘civilians.’ I loved it.”

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