Law enforcement scholars have long debated the impact higher education has on police officer performance. Many police scholars have analyzed police officer performance through productivity; job satisfactory ratings, turn-over rates, commendations or disciplinary department sanctions received, and compare such performance measures to officers’ education level.
Having had the opportunity to see both sides of the argument play out in the City of Memphis and as a member of the Memphis Police Department. I have become an advocate for requiring entry-level police officers to have at the very minimum an associate degree or the equivalent college credits. The college requirement can only be avoided with military experience. However, my position is not that more education makes you a better police officer or less education makes you a lousy officer. I believe that there should be a “happy medium” when it comes to police work. A good officer will be empathic, fair and in tune with the needs of the community and its members. Requiring a level of education for your entry-level officers speaks volumes about your agency and their dedication to professionalism. The benefits of having a college educated officer have shown to make a difference in the way they do their jobs. An educated police officer is less likely to utilize force when interacting with his co-workers or civilians. A department with educated officers also has shown to see a reduction in misconduct and disciplinary issues(Gómez-Mejía et al., 2016). Some years back the Memphis Police Department had relaxed their
In his article "Lack of Skills Leads to Violence", James J. Fyfe states that with "training...more comparable to that provided social workers, schoolteachers, psychologists and lawyers", police would become more adept at preventing violence. I believe this to be true, yet I think that many police departments confuse quantity with quality, and divert funding to the wrong places in an effort to better themselves. Training needs to be at the forefront of any reform. A police force that is educated and experienced, with knowledge of the community will be much more successful at preventing violence.
Many people might argue that the lack of training in the police force is more harmful to the officers than the effect it has on society. Leslie Pfeiffer mentions in her article “” that the Federal government devotes a shocking amount of money toward training, yet local police agencies are often left to fend for themselves” (Pfeiffer). Whatsoever the federal government may be doing with the funds should undoubtedly be providing effective programs and necessities to ensure a complete and sufficient training process for officers. Often time’s people forget that although the officer is vulnerable to failure, error, and possible injury, in the event of a possible suspect or wrongfully accused person the lack of knowledge perceived by the officer can cause outcomes such as hostility, hatred, and death. Not only are officers fending for themselves but in
To become a Police Officer, one is only required a high school diploma. Chaney and I acknowledge that the lack of education, but that does not justify police brutality and their actions, at least it shouldn't. Should the well-being of a society suffer because a police officer is uneducated? Many may argue that police officers should be cut some slack because they are people too. But, that is not a good enough argument because before someone can call themselves a police officer, they must be trained on how to handle stressful situations. Chaney does a good way of saying it by stating that even though "criminals are also people" like everybody else, that doesn’t stop the law from "[punishing them] for their crimes" and wrong doings. If you follow the argument that police officers are also people, then they also need to get punished for their crime. In her article, Chaney acknowledges that "it’s a tough [and] dangerous job" but she claims it as a false argument because there are many "jobs [that] are tough and dangerous" besides the job of being a police officer. Just because a job is both dangerous and tough, it doesn't justify anyone to "violate... their authority" and be able to get away with it.
Albarano, R. F. (2015). College Education and Officer Performance: Do College Educated Police Officers Perform Better Than Those Without a College Education?. International Journal of Education and Social Science, 2(7), 41-48.
Hours and hours of training and classes are mandatory before an officer is allowed to go on patrol. For instance on average a police recruit spends 761 hours in a class room going over everything from proper use of force, to when should my use of force be escalated as well as on average of spending 453 hours on a mandatory field component to further hone their skills(bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov). Now why with all of this training would it be thought that police officers are not subject matter experts in their field? Why is it that everyone feels that police officers do not know there job well or that they constantly do certain things they aren’t supposed to? Maybe it stems from an overall lake of respect for police officers that a good majority have, or possible that media itself show police officers a good majority of the time to be blundering idiots or the bad guys. Either way simple numbers do not lie. Police officers are given a considerable amount of training pertaining to using the tools at their disposal as well as the proper escalation and use of force, so there really can’t be someone crying wolf on that police officer have no idea, knowledge, or training pertaining to their job field.
A growing number of entry-level criminal justice practitioners have college degrees. This paper will explore whether or not law enforcement agencies should require applicants to have a post secondary degree as a condition of employment and will college-educated police officers will be resistant to organizational change.
Prior to the creation of the formal police academy, officers were taught using various methods that were not always effective or conducive to the work required of an officer. As a result, ill-equipped officers flooded the streets of nineteenth-century America, often unable to perform the primary duty of their job: protecting the public. The United States, inspired by England and other countries with better-developed public safety systems, desperately needed a method of ensuring safety for its people. The creation and evolution of the police academy defined what being a police officer entailed by teaching officers what is expected of them, not only job-requirement wise, but also morally and ethically. The Police Academy prepares an
In 2015, the COPS budget was cut by nearly $300 million and as a result, new officers received poor training as programs that were considered highly essential to the learning process of rookie cops were exterminated as the programs could no longer receive funding. This has caused poorly trained officers, with lethal weapons, to make poor decisions such as using violence, being neglectful, and directing derogatory terms at minorities and it all comes right back to the fact that cops are only taught how to use a gun properly and arrest a criminal. The physical, mental, and/or communication skills that an officer lacks shouldn’t determine the fate of an individual’s safety or
National studies on police behavior have failed to adequately address the issue of police discretion. Due to the lack of important research data, analysts have developed suggestions on how to improve an individual officer’s discretion by educating the entire department on proper use of discretion. The current suggestions are focused on officers in higher ranks developing an educational program for their department addressing areas of needs they have observed. They are the eyes of the department, and it is there job to know what their officers
Some police officers would think that enacting a law which demands the use of non-deadly force before using deadly force in a dangerous situation would be a way to endanger their lives. But they should know that choosing to be a police officer is already a danger, and if they are committed with the institution, they will see this solution as a benefit for the country because it will heal the image of the police department that nowadays is damaged due to the acts that they performed. On the other hand, Richard Beary, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, warned that there isn’t much money to give officers better training in community relations. Although, this can be a disadvantage for the solution, it can be solved by the government, which is able to provide more funds to the Police Department if they take this problem seriously as it is right now. Ms. Rawlings-Blake said: “If there is any place where the federal government and the Justice Department can produce a tangible difference for our officers, it would be to provide more resources in fiscal belt-tightening area.” In this area, police officers learn the broader significance of their role on society. Though not a perfect solution, analysts said, more comprehensive training for police officers is, in the words of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake,
Law enforcement like much of the economy and society has had to adapt to the rapidly changing Atmosphere of the technological advances. To counter these advances, education has served in the forefront to combating the technological sophistication that is rapidly sweeping the workforce. The need and desire to remain competitive with the technology that we have is a need that can be satisfied with more education. Much like technology, education has benefits elsewhere in the equation of remaining competitive. Education on the higher tiered level provides a professionalism to accompany by the demands placed on students during their scholastic years of study. Activities required by many professors in the higher education
There is a debate that is as controversial as police officers holding a degree and that is whether the law enforcement career is a profession or craft. Although, the classification of police work as a craft, trade, or a profession was the subject of intense controversy, there appeared to be little doubt that the trend toward professionalization was exerting a powerful impact on the field of law enforcement. Many officers argue that policing is a craft that you must have passion for and academies are irrelevant to learning police work. In order, to become a good officer one must gain experience and knowledge on the job. Then you have others who say that policing is a profession with education a central feature. They believe that one