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Tactical Police Leadership by Eric Aguiar


A review of Tactical Police Leadership by Eric Aguiar.

The police department, as a law enforcement agency, is tasked with crime prevention and keeping the citizens safe. However, because the resources are limited, achieving these objectives can be very hard. The police, especially those tasked with patrol, therefore, need to develop strategies to effectively and efficiently carry out their duties. Tactical Police Leadership: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Policing by Eric Aguiar is a non-fictional training manual that attempts to guide the police, especially the patrol officers, to efficiently allocate their resources and, therefore, increase the efficiency of their services. It is inspired by The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

This book has 59 pages. It is divided into 4 chapters. Some of the key takeaways from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War have been used as the titles of this book’s chapters. Since this is an instructional book, it takes a serious tutor-student tone. As earlier mentioned, this is a short book with only 4 chapters. For the sake of this review, I’ll only summarize the first two chapters. The first chapter, Appear Strong When You Are Weak and Weak When You Are Strong, instructs patrol commanders to adopt either visibility or invisibility plans, hence making it hard for potential criminals to predict the locations of patrol officers. The second chapter, All Warfare Is Based on Deception, encourages the patrol commanders to ensure that their activities are unpredictable by following irregular patterns. In this chapter, the author argues that potential criminals read and master the officers’ patterns such as shift changes, hence committing crimes when the officers are less likely to respond immediately.

I like several things about this book. To begin with, our law enforcement officers go through a lot of challenges while trying to maintain law and order. That the author recognized these challenges and wrote this book to solve most of them is applaudable. Having worked as a tactical police leader, Eric’s recommendations are very practical and enforceable. His vast experience in the police department gives him the ability to assess and come up with solutions to different problems facing the American police. The author kept this book short and to the point. This is a very admirable quality in an instructional book, since most readers may get bored with unnecessarily long non-fiction books. Since I didn’t find any grammatical errors while reading, this book was exceptionally edited.

The biggest flaw of this book is that it isn’t just inspired by Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, it is entirely based on Tzu’s theories. Reading chapters I, III, VI, VIII, and XIII of The Art of War and comparing them to this book’s four chapters, one can’t fail to notice how similar their theories are. The only difference is that this book is fine-tuned to focus exclusively on the police work. Most of the author’s suggestions rely heavily on a good relationship between the police department and the public. However, instructions on how to win the trust of these members of the public were unclear. Adding a few pages on building the relationship between the police and the members of the public will make this book more helpful.

In conclusion, this is a well-written book about improving the efficiency of the patrol officers. If these recommendations are implemented, the crime rate is likely to go down. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. I didn’t give it a perfect rating because most, if not all, of the theories and suggestions in this book, are a replica of Tzu’s theories in The Art of War. I recommend it to patrol officers interested in improving the efficiency of their services. Those looking for an entertaining book may have to pass this one.

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© 2021 Julius Otieno

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