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Inside the School Teaching Cops When It’s OK to Kill

A rare look inside a training course for midcareer cops
Jim Glennon

Jim Glennon

Photographer: Brad Swonetz for Bloomberg Businessweek
Updated on

Forty cops are in a classroom, watching recent footage of protesters in San Francisco denouncing the police. “Your children are ashamed of you,” a black woman in the video tells a black officer, who looks away. “Coward!” others shout. A young demonstrator walks up to a cop and sticks out his middle finger. A female officer trips, and the demonstrators laugh.

The volume is way up, and the cops in the room are leaning back in their chairs, crossing their arms, getting tense. Jim Glennon steps to the front of the room and stops the video. Glennon, 59, spent 29 years as an officer in Lombard, a suburb of Chicago, at one point running county homicide investigations. He’s 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, and has the gravelly voice and bearing of the desk sergeant on the 1980s TV show Hill Street Blues who told cops to “be careful out there” before the squad cars rolled. “Welcome to our world,” Glennon says. “It’s as bad as it’s been since the ’60s and ’70s.”