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Charles D. Hayes


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Blue Bias: An Ex-Cop Turned Philosopher Examines the Learning and Resolve Necessary to End Hidden Prejudice in Policing

Blue Bias book coverBlue Bias is a book for police candidates, seasoned officers, police supervisors, citizens who seek a truly just society, journalists who want to understand the psychology and temperament of peace officers, and people who simply want to better understand the concept of criminal justice beyond what can be learned by watching police dramas. Consider the following:

Another day, another video of a fatal police shooting hits the internet. Outrage, grief, fear, charges of racism and police brutality follow...and the officer in question may or may not face indictment. But in the end, very little changes—vulnerable communities feel that they cannot trust the police, and peace officers struggle to perform their jobs justly in profoundly stressful environments.

Former police officer and author of numerous books and essays on the subject of self-education, Charles D. Hayes wants to fix that. In Blue Bias, he delves deeply into the question of what can go wrong in policing, for both officers and communities, and explores ways to make it right. His solution is ultimately simple: Know thyself. But to accomplish this edict requires a genuine appreciation of the complexity of human biology, and an incisive understanding of the role our subconscious plays in forming biases, and then confirming prejudices that conflict with our own sense of morality.

If you want to be a police officer or simply better understand what policing is really like, this book is an insightful attitude check. Hayes asks that you, the reader, pin an imaginary badge on your shirt, a gun on your hip and take a front row seat in his big city police academy, because as he explains, it’s the only way to understand what policing is really like and why it is a much harder and potentially more rewarding and a more stimulating job than is commonly thought.  

Drawing on decades of research, Hayes introduces his readers to their own brains and the sentinel awareness of their limbic systems. He covers the effects of prolonged stress and heightened adrenaline on the emotional centers of the mind, as well as the roots of the unknown biases that lurk in the subconscious. He encourages self-awareness and a caliber of mindfulness to help police officers act thoughtfully with discretion in intense situations.

Blue Bias pulls no punches: you may find some of it difficult to read, but it is filled with the kind of information that is critical for understanding the difficulty police officers face today when they are not armed with the knowledge necessary to understand that what we are asking them to do is often at odds with their biological predilections.

No book on police work in America today would be complete without acknowledging the topic of systemic racism, especially the way this can affect potential biases officers may experience in that area. Blue Bias examines both the history of human bias and the current state of racism in America, and then provides useful ways to detect and reduce your own biases.

For decades, Charles D. Hayes has been one of America’s most passionate advocates for rigorous lifelong learning. Applying his early experience as a Dallas police officer with a half century of reflection, while intensively studying behavioral science, he has identified the learning necessary to end the hidden prejudice, commonly called implicit bias, that is still prevalent, especially in many economically poor communities.  

In today’s climate, Blue Bias is a desperately needed work: It calls on police officers to learn about the behavioral sciences beyond their training requirements in order to fulfill their oaths and to protect and preserve their own mental and physical health.

Blue Bias is the book every police chief should hope his or her officers will read, especially those who want to be chiefs someday.

To be published in Spring 2020. Details will be announced here.


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