In the abstract (the summarizing paragraph in italics that precedes the piece, itself) to “Policing the Platonic Cave: Ethics and Efficacy in Police Training,” Norman Conti and James J Nolan III conclude that the “theoretical foundation” on which the police “academy training structure” in this country rests is in conflict with the good intentions and aims of its own “ethics training” (166). In other words, as they go on to argue in the piece, “truly ethical behavior is structurally inhibited” by the traditional model of police training and the traditional ideas about the police that it instills in police recruits (166). This is clearly a criticism of the system of police training in the United States today, an effort to expose its flaws and internal contradictions. In the course of a four-page argument-based essay, explain the way that this criticism works. Precisely what do Conti and Nolan see as wrong with modern policing and police training? What are the consequences of the flaws in the system that they identify? And finally, do they offer any alternatives? What kinds of changes or reforms would they like to see? It’s a complicated argument that they advance. In constructing it, they use a number of technically specific terms and concepts drawn from ancient philosophy and modern sociology, and a modern anthropological methodology called ethnography. You’ll want to take these elements of their project into consideration as you unpack, analyze, reconstitute, and represent their work.
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