Home > Pittsburgh Journalist's New Book Thin Blue Lie Exposes the Police-Industrial Complex

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 Thin Blue Lie: The Failure of High-Tech Policing (Metropolitan Books; March 19, 2019; $28; 9781250108296), by Matt Stroud, a native and current resident of the North Hills, shows that American law enforcement is a system in crisis. Following explosive protests against police brutality and discrimination in Baltimore, Ferguson, and across the country, the vexing question of how to reform the police and curb misconduct stokes tempers and fears on both the right and left. In the midst of this fierce debate, however, most of us take for granted that innovative new technologies can only help.
 
Using his experience as an investigative reporter, Stroud delves into the worlds of the corporations whose products, in theory, could give the police the tools to incapacitate subjects without the lethal force associated with other weapons (Tasers) or to defend against accusations of misconduct (Axon, body cameras). By examining specific cases, like the deaths of Rodney King, Brian Watkins, and others, and by digging deep into the inner-workings of police forces and major corporations, Stroud shows that these tools are both overhyped and largely ineffective. 
 
With a focus on the people behind these weapons, Thin Blue Lie also expands on how police forces have looked the other way as more destructive technologies have entered the marketplace in the name of safety and have turned to technology as silver bullet. Thin Blue Lie is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand how policing became what it is today.
 
Stroud’s latest project, undertaken with fellow journalist and book author Carmen Gentile, is Postindustrial Media, a company dedicated to creating high-quality, in-depth reporting on the Rust Belt and Greater Appalachia – in hopes of correcting the stereotypes and oversimplification that characterized much national coverage of the region, particularly during the 2016 election. The first edition of Postindustrial’s print magazine is slated for publication on May 31. A Kickstarter campaign for the endeavor, which recently raised $12k in one day, is active until May 22.
 
To obtain a hard copy of the book for the purpose of review, please provide your name and mailing address to Liz Fetchin at liz@elmink.com or 724/612-9921.
 
Praise for Thin Blue Lie: The Failure of High-Tech Policing
 
Matt Stroud has written a brilliant, urgently-needed book exposing the myth that technology can solve law enforcement’s many problems. Thin Blue Lie is a masterful indictment of how salesmanship and spin have seduced Americans into thinking that ‘the next new thing’ will solve deeply entrenched racial and societal injustices. It is also a definitive history of how modern policing has been manipulated by egos, inventors, and innovators who have all profited from unproven ideas and sold a series of false promises to a public that wanted to believe.” 
 —Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, author of The Rise of Big Data Policing
 
In an era of doubt surrounding police practices, Matt Stroud’s Thin Blue Lie raises provocative questions about how cops use technology. Stroud has reported deeply and written thoughtfully about a topic that should be of vital interest to anyone concerned about crime fighting and public policy.
Macmillan
 
Stroud, an investigative journalist with an eye for detail, begins the book with a bang — or rather a zap.
The New York Times
 
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About the author: Matt Stroud is an investigative reporter with a focus on companies that do business with police departments and prisons. Formerly on staff at the Associated PressBloomberg News, and The Verge, he has also written for publications such as The AtlanticPoliticoBuzzFeed, and The Intercept. He lives in Pittsburgh.

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