Tags: Law Enforcement | police officers | police training | law enforcement

Pros and Cons of Requiring Police Officers to Have College Degrees

By    |   Thursday, 11 Jun 2015 08:54 AM

Although some police departments require a college degree, others merely require a high school diploma.

Furthermore, some police programs that don’t require degrees before employment still encourage their officers to take classes in pursuit of a degree while working full-time as an officer to boost their competitive marketability, according to the website Criminal Justice Degree Schools. 

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Here are two pros and two cons for this educational requirement:

Pros:

1. It enhances the status of the profession.
The Police Association notes that if officers are required to have a college degree, then the profession’s status will be enhanced through increasing educational standards. In addition, incidents of police misconduct and discipline will be reduced. One study of Florida officers found that 75 percent of disciplinary actions were administered to officers who only had a high school diploma. 

2. It aids police officers’ individual development.
In general, having a formal college degree – even a two-year associate’s degree – makes a person more marketable and desirable to potential employers in a highly competitive job market. Furthermore, college educations can aid the officers in their behavior and performance, enhance their critical thinking skills and situational discernment, and decrease dogmatism, the Police Association notes. 

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However, education isn’t everything, and there may be some cons to requiring a college degree, as well:

Cons:

1. Possibility of decreasing minority representation.
If college degrees are required for entry level into the police force, it may decrease the presence of black and Hispanic officers, as well as other minorities whose higher education rates, on average, are lower than whites’ in the United States.

2. The Police Academy already requires preparatory and on-the-job training.
Any person accepted into a police academy must complete a curriculum of approximately 1,370 hours of training, according to sources cited on sagepub.com. 

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Although some police departments require a college degree, others merely require a high school diploma.
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Thursday, 11 Jun 2015 08:54 AM
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