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Bad Cop: New York's Least Likely Police Officer Tells All

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  201 ratings  ·  41 reviews
A funny and revealing memoir of one man's journey into and out of the New York City police department.

In 2001, Paul Bacon was a typical young New Y orker: hip, liberal, overeducated, a little aimless. But then 9/11 happened. Hearing a call to duty—and lacking any better employment options—he joined the NYPD, with the earnest hope of making his hometown a safer place. Sill
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by Bloomsbury USA
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Sep 07, 2011 rated it liked it
When I was in high school, someone recommended me to join a group of kids who were being mentored for possible careers in law enforcement. I have no idea why I seemed like a good match, and after the first meeting I bowed out. Now I can imagine, thanks to this author, what I would have been like if I had somehow ended up as a cop: scared, inept and unmotivated. His adventures as part of NYPD are entertaining to read, if maybe a little bit pathetic. Here's hoping most of our women and men in blue ...more
Amy Chan
Jun 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Finished it in one go. A simple, hilarious, but insight book into the life of police point from a very unique perspective. It really show us that police are just human - some nicer, some more aggressive, some patient, some impulsive, some mature, some acts like high schoolar... In the end, they are regular people just doing their job and trying not to drive themselve crazy.
Aug 06, 2010 rated it liked it
I first heard one of the anecdotes here as a Moth story - hilarious. As a book, this is moderately funny and easy to read, and interesting to learn how NYPD cops are trained and what they do on the day to day. I can't rate it any higher, because the messages about the low morale and attitude of the cops and dreariness of the system are too discouraging. ...more
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great read!!! I'm sad it's over :(
Very interesting true story about a guy who becomes a cop in NY after 9/11. Enjoyed it thoroughly, thought ending was a bit abrupt but I didn't mind. I highly recommend it :)
This book was different than what I expected based on the title. I thought the book was going to detail police shootings of unarmed black men though it did not have any stories about police firing their weapons at anyone.

The book is about Kevin Bacon, after 9/11, wants to give back to his country and community and decides to join the NYC Police Force.

Bacon details his time at the academy and the politics of policing and particularly the issue of quotas, or unspoken quotas, about summonses, coll
Carol Wrenn
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Well, if there's one impression I came away with by the end of the book, it's that I concur with the author: he's the least likely person on the planet to become a police officer. I can't say that I'm thrilled with the current state of policing in the United States, but that doesn't mean that someone like Bacon--who was too afraid/softhearted to even hand out tickets half the time--is the answer.

I cringed a lot reading this book. But I also found it entertaining. It occasionally made me laugh, a
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first heard Paul tell his story on The Moth radio hour and I had to read his book. I am very happy that this poor guy did survive his 3 yrs on the NYPD. I look at these officers a little differently now and what they have to put up with while trying to protect the citizens.
It is hard to believe new officers are put on the streets without someone to guide them. It seems to be baptism by fire.

A good read!
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
For me, it was an enjoyable dip into my previous life and was able to finish it in one evening...
Ben Baker
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beyond fascinating look at the real life New York cop life not seen in procedurals on TV. Makes you appreciate the boys in blue just that little bit more. (NB: Not "The Boys In Blue", 1982.) ...more
Chris Bryson
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious and fun to read. Well written account of a NYC police officer trying to give back after 9/11.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cops
I don't care if this is a "fictionalization" of the authors real-life experiences - too much. I enjoyed it. ...more
Jesse Flood
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I found this book about a first hand account of a police officer, from his time in the police academy, to serving the public after to be a good read.
My partner saw this little ARC gem in a charity shop and asked my opinion of it knowing I once wore a badge and a gun and knew a bit about NYC and its finest. I ad never heard of the book, but a cop memoir by a lad named Bacon just had to have a few laughs in store. This was the best entertainment a dollar could buy (and it helped out a good cause as well).

Bacon's book is a funny, tongue in cheek look at his "career" as a NYPD officer following 9/11's tragic events. So many people wanted to step
Josephus FromPlacitas
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Candy-readable. (Meaning, it was so readable it went down like candy.) I finished it in three days and I'm such a victim of the Internet that I barely read anymore. Clearly he put a ton of work into making the writing really strong and straightforward. He has a real gift for humor.

But my James Frey detector did started ringing a little bit early on. The warning about composite characters had me wondering from the start. And the Clarabel Suarez character seemed a little too conveniently placed at
Todd Huish
Jun 26, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for a good memoir. I'm not as interested in biographies done by people about someone else but there's something very powerful about someone telling a story about themselves...if they can write. Paul Bacon can write pretty well but somehow his book left me a little flat. I heard him on The Moth and I really enjoyed the story he told about locking himself in the back of his own squad car. I had really hoped that the book would be a couple hundred pages of similar stories but it really ...more
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Paul Bacon decided to become a cop in New York City when he lost his job in the aftermath of 9-11. He provides an inside look at going through the police academy, working in various departments and precincts, and experiencing burnout after just a few years. It’s fascinating and a little terrifying how laissez faire most operations are. I heard him on The Moth when he told about locking himself in the back of a police cruiser, and hoped his writing would be as entertaining as his storytelling. Mo ...more
Aug 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Well-written but ultimately underwhelming. I enjoyed Bacon's tales of his life on the job, but as is so often the case with this kind of memoir, his recounting of his personal life was less riveting and accounted for most of the dry spots in the book. It felt as though Bacon has already told these stories many times over and was phoning it in when it came to typing them up for the book. The "romance" is cringe-inducing, my least favorite part of the book. ...more
Kalle Wescott
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I had low expectations from this book (which was one of the few English language books I found to buy on a recent European visit).

A book called Bad Cop written by a first time writer named Bacon? Cue the bad (cop) jokes.

But it's a well-written, amusing tale, an easy read, and even poignant at times.... highly enjoyable!

It was also interesting to learn how things work behind the scenes in the NY police force.

I hope Bacon writes more books.
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a light read and very funny. If you know me you know I LOVE police stories... One of my neighbors bought this for me and I couldn't put it down because it made me laugh. I kept thinking oh my God I hope this is the minority of our police force not the majority otherwise we are in big trouble! I give him a high five for at least trying the profession, but so glad he got out. ...more
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Very entertaining. Bacon chose a profession for 3 years that didn't totally suit him. Descriptions of police situations are written in a funny way. Gives the reader an idea of what policing as a career is like. There's some suspense/romantic tension in the book as we wait and see if anything will come out of his crush on Clarabel, a sharp-tongued Dominican officer. ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who liked "Waiter Rant"
Shelves: crime, memoir, humorous
I read this one quickly -- because it's light reading and it's very entertaining. I have some quasi-law enforcement experience in a job where I worked closely with police officers. I think the author did a great job bringing out the humor in a situation where he was a round peg trying to fit in a square hole. ...more
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up because the author's story on The Moth was so funny. The remarkable take-away from the book is it made me more suspicious of police officers and more sympathetic at the same time. ...more
Miguel A. Castillo Jr
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
This too could have been a good read... I mean it's better than Joe Sanchez's True Blue... And I'm so mad that Bacon could not seal the deal with his Dominican partner! One Pig to another, "Dude!"

I'll show you what being a Bad Cop is all about(And dumb one too).
Abel Tavarez
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very entertaining, well-written account of a nice guy cop in New York City. Anybody who's ever considered being a cop (or curious about what it's like) will enjoy the (mis)adventures of Officer Bacon. ...more
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
The most interesting part of this book was the boot camp and how police officers become police officers. I thought this would have been more of a book of hijinks and 'whoopsies' as opposed to someone who just didn't want to do parts of his job, no matter how much it stank. ...more
May 05, 2016 added it
For a relatively short career, this book highlights the humorous side of policing which will relate to everybody. Some people just aren't cut out for some jobs, and the author here has no issues with sharing his inept abilities with the world. very entertaining. ...more
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! It was written in such a funny and honest way. I was even sad when it ended and I really wish Paul would write more books because I would read every type of book written by him. He is very talented as a writer, much more than being a cop.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Paul Bacon had no particular skills or background suited for police work. But after the 9/11 attacks, he decided to join the NYPD. His account is alternately funny & slightly terrifying.
C.S. Daley
Apr 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I mostly liked it. It was dry in a few spots but it was still a good book about a man not made for the job he had.
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