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by Peter Moskos

April 20, 2008

Hate mail (1)

I'm amazed that the mere thought of my book would get people so riled up that they would write me. It's hard to take criticism of my book seriously from people who haven't read my book. But here's the first email:
Mr. Moskos, three years. Count them (3) years!! Wow! How in the world did you stand being on that job so long? It is very dangerous. Have you ever gone to court, or shot at, or been shot at by anyone? Have you ever walked in a neighborhood without a walkie talkie, or handcuffs? Have you ever walked at all? It must have been really hard on you trying to study to get a degree and working all those nasty shifts that police officers work, and be very busy answering calls and writing tickets, and all the other stuff cops do. Did you ever get beat up, or get into a fight with anyone? Did you drop your study material during a fight? I'll bet your side partners really miss you, since you were there for so long. I'll bet you were a police "agent" that everybody thinks so highly of? Have you ever met Joseph Wambaugh? He wrote a book also. You should read it. Maybe you could put some of his thoughts into your own words.

My reply:
Dear ******,
Actually, it was less than two years.
But in answer to your questions:
Yes, I've been to court.
Yes, I've been shot at.
Yes, I've walked in many neighborhoods without handcuffs or radio. But no, I would never walk the Eastern Distict where I policed without the tool of my trade.
I wasn't studying when I was a cop. I just took notes when I got home.
I never got beat up.
I was in fights.
My partners say they do miss me, at least many of them do.
I wasn't an "agent." I was a police officer. But yes, I had the academic degree needed to be an agent.
I haven't met Joseph Wambaugh, but I do like his books.
I hope you read my book before passing more judgements.

Professor Peter Moskos
Dept. of Law and Police Science
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
899 10th Ave, Room 422
New York, NY 10019

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