While ace writer Jordan "slugger" Heller's text makes me sound so rough and blue-collar, the art just captures my naturally effeminate and pompous persona perfectly.
Hmmm, yes, indeed, I remember arresting that ruffian. It sure felt mahvalous to get that rapscallion and his dirty scowl off the street! I always carried a sweater just in case it got chilly or I needed to pat my high brow. In this arrest, I was just so thrilled that the scoundrel didn’t make me perspire (or even put out my pipe)! It was so nice to have that sketch artist capture the moment! What a dah-ling!
When Harvard-trained sociologist Peter Moskos entered the Baltimore Police Academy, back in 1999, his objective was simple: observe up-close the methods and culture of an American police department. He never planned on actually becoming a cop. But one day after Moskos arrived, the police commissioner who’d approved his project left office, and the new regime was not so accommodating. “Why don’t you become a cop for real?” he was asked—or rather, dared—by the interim commissioner, who was threatening to throw him out on his Ivy League butt. Six months later, the Princeton/Harvard alum had a badge and a gun, and was patrolling the graveyard shift of Baltimore’s high-crime Eastern District, the same drug-riddled streets that served as a setting for HBO’s The Wire. The result: Cop In the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore’s Eastern District, Moskos’s book recounting his year in the ranks of the thin blue line.There's more. The whole Q & A can be found here.
VF Daily: Your background is not typical for a police officer. Did you take much flak from your fellow cops?
Peter Moskos: Actually, I found that I got surprisingly little flak from fellow cops about being a Harvard student. I got more shit from Harvard professors about being a cop.
What were your professors worried about?
Originally I wasn’t going to become a cop; traditional academics aren’t supposed to do that. [They’re supposed to observe, not participate.] So I think they felt I was pulling the bait and switch. But some of it I think was just class snobbery: “You’re a Harvard student, you’re not supposed to become a cop. That’s a blue-collar job.”
The midnight shift in Baltimore’s Eastern District. That’s serious. Aside from the criminals you’d be dealing with, did you worry about encountering police corruption?
[The Eastern District] could be perceived as the heart of darkness of police culture, so yeah, I was worried about it, but I didn’t see any corruption. What I did find, however, is that the average cop has more integrity than the average professor.