Bruce Smith (1892-1955) was the director of the Institute of Public Administration, a New York City based non-profit. He was a longtime and respected expert on American policing, and his statistical and behavioral studies of how cops work, lead to reforms in many cities and states.

In this profile from the February 27, 1954 issue of The New Yorker, the same woes and complaints that are heard from citizens and cops today echo throughout.

Crime, corruption, police abuse, and the many facets, (mental, physical, emotional, political, racial) in tough, violent, rebellious America is the law enforcement story of our nation. Corruption, lies, patronage and wealthy people who get the “fix” and way out for wrongdoing, that is all illuminated in this essay.

There is an ongoing struggle in our country between our love of freedom and our fear of violence, and our longing for, and resentment of, order.

Mr. Smith knew the devils and angels of human character through his footwork and statistical analyses.

It’s good reading to remind ourselves that whatever meltdowns afflict our nation today have lots of precedent.

The PDF below is downloadable. Or read the enlargements that follow.

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