1st Edition

Seven Highly Effective Police Leaders 1895-Modern Times

By Brandon Kooi Copyright 2022
    448 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    448 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides a valuable addition to the policing literature by detailing the backgrounds and histories of seven important police leaders: Teddy Roosevelt, August Vollmer, O.W. Wilson, Penny Harrington, Bill Bratton, Chuck Ramsey, and Chris Magnus.

    Seven Highly Effective Police Leaders teaches important history, highlighting the impact on the evolution of American policing by academia and social science. Each historical biography demonstrates the importance of each leader’s decision-making and how it continues to shape the future of U.S. law enforcement. Readers are informed about each police leader’s background and how their leadership was shaped by the political and historical environments in which they led.

    The book is useful for educational courses in policing, American history, leadership, and strategic planning. Additionally, the general public will find this book insightful regarding contemporary mass social justice protests linked to the unique history of the United States.



    1. Teddy Roosevelt – New York Police Reformer

    2. August Vollmer – Berkeley’s Father of Police Professionalism

    3. O.W. Wilson – Chief, Professor, Dean, Superintendent with Appendix on Herman Goldstein – Father of Problem- Oriented Policing

    4. Penny Harrington – Portland Feminism and the Nation’s First Female Chief

    5. Bill Bratton – Commissioner NYPD and Chief of the LAPD with Appendix on George Kelling – Broken Windows Policing

    6. Chuck Ramsey – Chicago CAPs Program, Chief of Washington, DC Metropolitan Police and Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police

    7. Chris Magnus – Chief of Fargo, Richmond, California, and Tucson, Arizona


    Brandon Kooi, Ph.D., is a professor in the Criminal Justice program at Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois. He received his Ph.D. degree from the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University in 2004. Before his academic career, Dr. Kooi was a private security consultant/executive, criminal investigator, law clerk, and youth crisis interventionist. He assisted in training police administrators through the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing and the Wisconsin-based Problem-Oriented Leadership Institute for Chief Executives (POLICE). Dr. Kooi’s consulting work included the Aurora, Illinois Police Department’s anti-gang initiative (Finding Typhoid Mary) and Sheboygan, Wisconsin Police Department’s community policing (Neighbors Against Drugs) unit. Both initiatives were finalists for the Herman Goldstein Award at the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing international conferences. Dr. Kooi also presented his research at the Stockholm Criminology Symposium in 2018.  

    ‘In the United States at any one time, there are tens of thousands of police chiefs, and hundreds of thousands have served since American police departments were created. Among them all, the seven chiefs, plus the two scholars, featured in this book, individually and collectively, have had an outsized influence on what American policing is today. August Vollmer personally influenced O.W. Wilson, who personally influenced Herman Goldstein, who personally influenced George Kelling, who personally influenced Bill Bratton. I can attest to this intellectual inheritance because I, too, was personally influenced by Goldstein, and thus my own work as a police chief was, in attenuated but real ways, influenced by all these remarkable chiefs and scholars who preceded me and my contemporaries. For all who are interested in how our society is policed, their stories are very much worth knowing.’

    Michael S. Scott, Clinical Professor and Director, Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, Arizona State University 

    ‘Professor Kooi uses the biographies of seven past and present police leaders to weave his way through the history of American policing and many of the key issues we continue to face today. His magnificent seven might or might not be the greatest police chiefs of all time (that can be debated, endlessly), but their lives and accomplishments deserve to be known far and wide.’

    Gary Cordner, Former Commissioner of CALEA "Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies", Professor Emeritus- Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and Eastern Kentucky University, Past President Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS)