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