How To Recognize and Handle Abnormal People: A Manual for the Police Office


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The actual policing in this book reminds me much more of the British police I see on shows than any American cop.

Bad boys and all that.


Wow, anyone else find it sad that Police training in de-escalation has gotten WORSE since the 50’s and not better? I get the feeling that they phased it out during the 60’s (civil rights movement, anti-war protests, activism in general, oh and all that hippy stuff), I would imagine that police who have been trained with good de escalation tactics aren’t as effective at beating the shit out of protesters as those who haven’t.


I was prepared to pile shaaaaame on this, but the excerpts scanned seem like reasonable, empathy-building tactics. Good job, mental health professionals of the 1950s?


This is the kind of thing that you’d always see in Jack Webb cop shows.


The American version is just one page with this picture on it:


Putting black paper behind the page when scanning reduces show-through from the other side. Pass it on.


Yea, I kept waiting for the hilarious part.


The job has shifted to military occupation for ex-military people and a propagandised wartime mentality away from the old a blue collar glorified security guard, I suppose it has much to do with income inequality too.


Not ‘hilarious,’ but the juxtaposition of this story with the following one about a 24-year-old mentally ill man who died covered in his own shit while in custody for stealing $5 worth of snacks from a convenience store provided a time-delayed gut-punch that wasn’t entirely unlike a(n extremely dark) ‘punchline.’


Hmm. That’s… sort of similar to how I would react to that assailant.


I was just going to drop this link to a 1960 cop training film called “Booked for Safekeeping,” but I noticed one of the pictures from that print manual appears to be a still from this film.


Skeet skeet skeet skeet


Fortunately, they have Normal Police Chief Harold Sylvester taking care of the situation.



If we learned anything from COINTELPRO, it’s that there is a definite “us vs them” divide built into the ideology of policing in America.


Good lord, that’s just so… reasonable? Dated, sure, but there’s an emphasis on empathy and patience that seems pretty far from what we see now.
The whole premise that “the neighborhood police officer that knows the person best…” seems to completely foreign. I can’t name any officer in the last several towns I’ve lived in. So much of this comes down to that- relationships that used to be a integral part of policing mostly don’t exist now. Cops drive by in cruisers with tinted windows, safely removed from the people they (in theory) protect.
Just kinda bums me out that we’ve gone backwards (in some ways…) from the handing of this stuff since the 60’s.


When cops walked a beat, they got to know everyone in the neighborhood to which they were assigned - unless the cop was a socio/psychopath, that’s going to generate empathy with those he took an oath to serve and protect.

I think that if walking a beat hadn’t been phased out when it was, a lot of the problems with police and their communities wouldn’t exist now.


Get the new updated 2015 edition with these brand new chapters:

  • De-escalating situations with the proper use of Tasers, choke-holds and flash-bang grenades
  • How to determine when to yell ‘He’s reaching for my gun! stop reaching for my gun!’, ‘I feel threatened!’, and ‘Stop Resisting!’
  • Maintaining the respect for your authorit-ay


Just because there was a pamphlet saying this is how officers were supposed to treat the “abnormal” doesn’t mean that this is actually how officers treated people in the '50s. In fact, there’s a good deal of evidence that they didn’t, especially in the south. I suspect this book, along with the video linked in a comment above, were an attempt to get the police to start treating the mentally ill more humanely. It doesn’t seem to me that either was very successful.


“See this person who looks drunk, on the verge of passing out? Are they wearing a MedicAlert bracelet? Because if they’re diabetic and hypoglycemic, a Taser won’t make them compliant, and the drunk tank won’t keep them from slipping into a coma.”