Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City

Rosa Brooks
In Conversation With Christy Lopez
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Episode Summary

In her forties, with two children, a spouse, a dog, a mortgage, and a full-time job as a tenured law professor at Georgetown University, Rosa Brooks decided to become a cop. Despite the extreme personal and professional risks, the liberal academic and journalist served as a reserve police officer between 2016-2020 with the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department in order to better understand the usually closed world of policing. In her new book Tangled Up in Blue, Brooks chronicles her experiences of what it’s like inside the "blue wall of silence." From street shootings and domestic violence calls to the behind-the-scenes police work during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential inauguration, Brooks presents a revelatory firsthand account of patrolling the poorest, most crime-ridden neighborhoods of the nation’s capital. With more and more news of police violence and the outrage of Americans protesting against the corruption and racial disparities in the criminal justice system, Brooks illuminates the complexities of a broken system beyond the headlines. Join us for an immersive conversation as Brooks takes ALOUD audiences through a tour of duty to find a better way to protect our society. 

Participant(s) Bio

Rosa Brooks is a law professor at Georgetown University and founder of Georgetown's Innovative Policing Program. From 2016 to 2020, she served as a reserve police officer with the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department. She has worked previously at the Defense Department, the State Department, and for several international human rights organizations. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal, and she spent four years as a weekly opinion columnist for the Los Angeles Times and another four as a columnist for Foreign Policy. Her most recent book, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2016; it was also shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize and named one of the five best books of the year by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Christy E. Lopez is a Washington Post contributing columnist and a Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. She teaches courses on policing and criminal procedure and co-directs Georgetown’s Innovative Policing Program. From 2010 to 2017, Lopez served as a deputy chief in the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. She led the division’s group conducting pattern-or-practice investigations of police departments and other law enforcement agencies. She directly led the team that investigated the Ferguson Police Department and was a primary drafter of the Ferguson Report and negotiator of the Ferguson consent decree and helped coordinate the department’s broader efforts to ensure constitutional policing.