11 more must-read books for law enforcement

All 11 of these books have been recommended by Police1 readers

A few months ago we posted 15 must-read books for law enforcement and asked our readers to recommend your favorite books in the comments section. The response was terrific. Based on your comments, and in no particular order, here are 11 more must-reads for LEOs.

1. Officer Down, Code Three, by Pierce R. Brooks



“Officer Down, Code Three” explores, in its 13 chapters, nearly 20 actual police cases in which an officer lost his or her life. Each case also details a synopsis of the errors in judgment and procedure that may have led to their death.  Pierce R. Brooks writes this book as both a cautionary tale and training manual. It is written to protect officers who may one day face the same type of life-threatening situation.

2. Arresting Communication: Essential Interaction Skills for Law Enforcement, by Jim Glennon



Borrowing from his 30+ years of law enforcement experience, Jim Glennon’s book, “Arresting Communication: Essential Interaction Skills for Law Enforcement,” artfully employs a combination of police jargon and humor to describe the critical importance of effective communication, both on the job and off.  Glennon goes on to describe a multitude of common-sense practices and procedures for creating positive interactions and diffusing potentially volatile situations before they happen.

3. Street Survival: Tactics For Armed Encounters, by Ronald J. Adams



When suspects on the street are armed, there are a number of positive tactics available to officers—controlling light, using verbal challenges, the element of surprise, etc. These tactics are designed to protect LEOs and the general public. his is the premise of Ronald J. Adams’ book, “Street Survival: Tactics for Armed Encounters.” Drawing on the collective experience of nearly 50 police agencies, and 400 detailed reports, Adams expertly lays out strategies designed to prevent officers from risky situations escalating further and what you need to know to protect yourself. 

4. Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life, by Patrick Van Horne



“Left of Bang,” is a phrase used in the military to describe an ambiguous fearful feeling. The feeling that something is not quite right is a sense we all get from time to time, and a sense that led General James Mattis to authorize a new program called the Marine Corp Combat Hunter Program.  In this very important book, author Patrick Van Horne explains how this successful program can help law enforcement officers heighten their sense of awareness in the field and prevent them from being caught off guard. 

5. Building a Better Gunfighter: Improving Marksmanship, Mechanics and Mindset, by Richard E. Fairburn (Foreword by Lt. Col Dave Grossman)





Written by Richard E. Fairburn (with a revealing foreword by Lt. Col Dave Grossman), “Building a Better Gunfighter: Improving Marksmanship, Mechanics and Mindset” points out that merely owning and knowing how to shoot a gun is not enough. Fairburn outlines a three-part system he calls the “Three M’s”:  

  • Marksmanship 
  • Mechanics 
  • Mindset

He argues that each of these aspects is equally important when facing dangerous/deadly situations, and advises readers who choose to arm themselves of the enormous responsibility inherent in gun ownership and usage.

6. Law Dogs: Great Cops in American History, by Dan Marcou 



Law enforcement officers, history buffs and any other reader who enjoys a good non-fiction story will love the book “Law Dogs: Great Cops in American History.”  Written by retired Police Lieutenant Dan Marcou, the book profiles the lives and legacies of some of the most renowned and memorable law officers in American history, separating their actual achievements from folklore.  From the rough and tumble lawmen of the Old West, the Gangs of the 20s and 30s, to present day heroes, “Law Dogs: Great Cops in American History” offers a genuine and unfiltered picture of law enforcement through the decades.

7. Use of Force Investigations: A Manual for Law Enforcement, by Kevin Davis




In his book “Use of Force Investigations: A Manual for Law Enforcement,” Kevin Davis has created a valuable resource for LEOS and other personnel involved in use of force investigations.  The book serves as a comprehensive overview from legal, training, and educational standpoint. 

8. The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe, by Heather Mac Donald



Written by Heather MacDonald, “The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe” defines “misguided and malice-laced” attacks on law enforcement, particularly in crime-ridden areas of the United States.  She points to data to prove that crime, not race, drives police actions and prison rates, She goes on to say that targeted policing in high crime areas has not only garnered the results those policies seek to achieve, but also made those neighborhoods safer for the general public.

9. Force under Pressure: How Cops Live and Why They Die, by Dr. Lawrence Blum




“Force under Pressure: How Cops Live and Why They Die” is the culmination of a life’s work by author Dr. Lawrence Blum.  Blum describes situations LEOs may face that represent extraordinary danger in the field.  Blum argues that the current training protocol for officers neglects certain strategies that may help reduce officer injury and prevent unnecessary deaths.  These additional training methods Blum addresses could help improve quick-thinking and concentration in times of conflict, stress and confrontation. Nimbleness can ultimately enable officers to clearly and consistently maintain the will to survive.

10. The Book of Five Rings, by Miyamoto Musashi




Penned in the year 1643 by the renowned—and reportedly undefeated—samurai Miyamoto Musashi, “The Book of Five Rings” offers a poignant look at the “art of human confrontation.”  The book, which was originally written as a guide for martial artists, has now become a valuable text for leaders from many industries, including law enforcement. The book analyzes the various processes and struggles typically involved with human interaction, and provides tips and solutions on how to master the difficult and seemingly unsolvable problems that can—and often do—arise during confrontational dilemmas.

11. The Art of War, by Sun Tzu 




“The Art of War,” which historians believe was written in the 4th or 5th century by the Chinese military leader Sun Tzu, is an ancient text outlining the fundamental rules and principles of warfare, giving the reader advice on how and when to fight given a certain predicament.  The 13 chapters lay out tactical advice, including how to proceed into dangerous and occupied terrain and how to select the correct weapon for specific battle-related scenarios.

From the tactics, policies and procedures that can keep you safe, to the stories about successful law enforcement officers of the past, each of these texts can help better prepare you to protect both the public and yourself.


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