Reading books fights police corruption?

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In their struggle to keep poorly paid officers on the right side of the law Neza’s authorities are employing an unlikely weapon: literature. Earlier this year the municipal president, Luis Sanchez, launched an initiative aimed at making Neza’s policemen better citizens. One of its cornerstones is to stimulate reading among them. Although book groups and programmes to encourage reading in jails are not uncommon, this is one of the rare schemes aimed at the people in charge of law enforcement.

The FT reports that the hope is that the reading will improve the vocabulary and efficiency of officers, allow them to acquire experience by proxy and inspire the conviction that will make them “more committed to the values they have pledged to defend.”

You will recognize many of the suggested titles and authors (I found some of the selections quite peculiar). Many of them are also quite challenging - I was lost the first time I read Cervantes too:

Commander Espinoza confesses he has struggled with the excerpts from Don Quixote that group commanders have been assigned to read. He does, however, feel his vocabulary has been improving. I mention that, like him, the chief of police also chose Sun Tzu’s The Art of War as the book he would most recommend. “Every policeman in the world should read it,” he says, shouting over the motorcycle’s engine. “It teaches you how to think better when dealing with conflict. And that’s what we do every day. We deal with conflict.”

For more, see the 'Literatura Siempre Abierta' Web site. And this is the first detective novel that was republished especially for the program. (Maybe a different font next time?)

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