Distinguished Lecturers
Christopher Agee

Christopher Agee

An associate professor of history at the University of Colorado Denver, Christopher Agee specializes in the history of police, urban culture, and liberal politics. He is the author of The Streets of San Francisco: Policing and the Creation of a Cosmopolitan Liberal Politics, 1950–1972 (2014). He has recently coedited "The Police in Post–World War II Urban America," a special section for the Journal of Urban History. He is now researching the rise of community policing in Philadelphia and Houston during the 1980s and 1990s and the crafting and passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Considering the transition from "guardian policing" to "warrior policing," the political influence of neighborhood watch programs, and the invention of downtown special service districts, this project ultimately finds the grassroots politics that inspired and buttressed President Bill Clinton's campaign to add "100,000 police on America's streets." Agee teaches courses in crime and policing, social movements, urban history, and modern American history. His interest in history education extends beyond the college campus, and he frequently works with local high-school history teachers and community history groups.

OAH Lectures by Christopher Agee

This lecture discusses how and why community policing and tactical policing emerged alongside one another in late-twentieth century America. Recent scholarship has explained this development by arguing that no real differences exist between the two agendas. Community policing, in this framing, is tactical policing in sheep's clothing. I argue otherwise. Community policing and tactical policing each served opposing political constituencies with very different political aims. Understanding those constituencies and aims reveals why the two philosophies were ultimately able to exist alongside one another.

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