I haven't had many concerns about law enforcement in Alaska. In general, AK State Troopers are awesome. They often care about educating people on laws to gain voluntary compliance and don't freak out about private citizens carrying firearms. The Anchorage muni cops are not quite as good but still, we go shooting at the same range and they generally aren't flagrantly bad. Still, if I'm carrying, I do tend to avoid even casual contacts as our laws require you to inform a LEO that you're packing immediately upon contact and I just don't see a need to have interactions like that -- it isn't low-stress for either party.
With our road trip coming up though we will be going through a lot of states where law enforcement is not so genteel. Frankly in some of the places we're going through I think law enforcement may be more of a problem than a solution, at least based on media reports. I re-read my copy of You & the Police! and then got "Arrest Proof" as a second opinion. You & The Police is a good primer on your rights but maybe isn't so practical for dealing with aggressive cops.
I got two big things out of Arrest Proof yourself:
- The Electronic Plantation. A single arrest will be digitized into a federal database. Even if the arrest does not lead to a conviction, if the charges are thrown out, or if a state judge seals the record, the database entry remains forever. More and more local and state entities are also digitizing their arrest records and putting them on the internet. Employers, schools, and other institutions access these arrest records and assume that if there is smoke there is fire; that is, an arrest must mean you were doing SOMETHING wrong. Other police (and now--maybe TSA...) will also cross reference this database when they make a traffic stop or have other contacts with you. I am guilty of "mis using" these records myself; the Alaska court system makes it really easy to find charges brought against someone but not convictions. Carson calls this the "digital plantation" because it locks its victims into a lifetime of second-class citizen status without any conviction being required.
- Cops are Hunters. Most gun owners know that cops aren't really there to serve and protect ("When Seconds Count, the Police are Only Minutes Away" is the bumper sticker). They just can't be everywhere all the time. Carson lays out a convincing case that cops are hunters. They are rewarded for making arrests; the more, and the more impressive, the better. A DUI is ok. A DUI where they also make a drug bust is better. And a DUI with a drug bust and a scuffle is best because the cop gets some "action" and you can lay on charges of resisting arrest.
This makes some sense based on my personal experience as a security guard. There were three broad types of cops where I worked. First were the lazy cops. These guys were the stereotypical donut munchers and were nice guys but not terribly aggressive. The next were the "good cops." They behaved much like the AK State Troopers. Finally where the Hunter Cops. These guys tended to be younger males and were pretty aggressive. They loved a good chase and scuffle. They were ambitious and were rewarded for writing citations and making arrests.
If LEOs are hunters, then that means that you are the prey, and one misstep can land you on the electronic plantation.
The rest of the book was less useful. Carson acknowledges that he is writing for a primarily young, male, urban audience. I don't live the "urban outdoors" lifestyle, drive a low-rider, or wear pants that sag around my knees. I don't look like a gang banger. A lot of the advice he has isn't really relevant because I'm not Carson's target demograhic.
I did get a few useful counter-tactics though. First was asking for a notice to appear in lieu of being arrested. This eliminates the electronic plantation entry. Another was the absolute importance of avoiding the appearance of resisting arrest. For example, according to Carson, if you raise your hands to shield your face from spittle, a jab from a nightstick, or anything else, that is considered battery on a police officer. The best thing to do is grab both pant legs, close your eyes, and take it (if vertical). A final countertactic is the importance of shutting the heck up and getting a lawyer -- or better yet, having an attorney on retainer.
There is some good abstract material here on the downsides of the "war on drugs," the self-fulfilling prophecy of the justice system sausage grinder, and so on--and while it is interesting reading, it won't help you at a traffic stop.
Carson has good credentials to write this book: he was a beat cop in Miami, a federal FBI agent, and a defense attorney. So he's worked on all sides of the legal system sausage grinder. Overall this is a pretty good book. If you're in the target demographic that Carson is writing for, you might find it more useful, but for the stereotypically middle class suburban/semi-rural individual it may be of less use. Overall, it is worth ten bucks.