The Law of the Police is the first book to explore the complex array of federal, state, and local legal rules that govern police encounters with the public. The book is primarily designed to provide materials for law school courses and seminars on policing or courses on criminal procedure that seek to provide a broader understanding of the institutions and laws shaping police practices than traditional casebooks permit. It also offers a resource for academics, lawyers, and others who want to know more about how American law regulates the police and how it might do so differently. In addition to cases, statutes, and policies, the book includes extensive commentary and questions encouraging readers to consider the form and content of the law; how it might change; who is making it; and how the law affects the costs and fairness of policing and the public accountability of police actions.

  • Part I introduces local policing—its history, its goals, its legal foundations, and its problems 
  • Part II considers the law that regulates investigative activities, such as surveillance, interrogations, and collecting evidence 
  • Part III addresses the law that governs common street activities, including preventing crime, stopping traffic, using force, handling protests, and maintaining order 
  • Part IV examines legal remedies for police abuses and avenues for police reform 
Rachel Harmon, The Law of the Police, Wolters Kluwer (2021).