"In Police Work, Leonard Freed worked alongside the policemen of New York to see what life ‘on the beat’ was really like. What he documented is an elegant yet grittily realistic portrait of ordinary people doing a “sometimes boring, sometimes corrupting, sometimes dangerous, ugly and unhealthy job”.
“The series of police stories started with demonstrations outside my building in New York during the Vietnam War. It was about 1972 and the building was full of radicals, and they were calling the police ‘Pigs’ all the time. But the policeman is just a working man: they’re not college graduates, or psychiatrists, judges or social workers. If a policeman makes one mistake and shoots someone by accident, then he’s a murderer. With the courts, power is distributed around; no one is individually responsible like the policeman is. Michael Rand at the Sunday Times magazine gave me an assignment, and then Stern magazine and Paris Match were interested so I built up a body of work.""