“Should become mandatory reading for all police academy students.”—Damon Woodcock (Ret.), Portland, Oregon, Police Bureau“A well-researched, historically grounded, and mordant critique of American policing past and present.”—Christian ParentiEven critics have a difficult time imagining a world without police. But just what is the role of police in a democracy: to serve the public or to protect the powerful? Tracing the evolution of the modern police force back to the slave patrols, this controversial study observes the police as the armed defender of a violent status quo. Kristian Williams is the author of American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination.