Educational Requiremenmts for Police Officers

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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.

Post Secondary Degree Requirements for Police Officers

Perceptions of what constitutes a qualified police officer have been crafted as a result of numerous television shows and movies. They are often portrayed as heroic, invincible, and possessors of brute strength. While some of these physical attributes are in fact expected and required of police officers, they are not the only ones and at times, may come secondary to alternative methods, such as the use of strong communication and critical thinking skills. Policing has changed immensely since the days of resolving issues with a night stick. There is a desire for today’s police officers to possess the educational capacity to develop and implement community policing initiatives. Additionally, there exists a desire to professionalize policing. This drive for professionalism has led to the desire for increased educational requirements (Brecci, 1994).

The emphasis on the need for police officers to have a post secondary education is not new. During the Political Era of policing, police officers were often politically appointed, regardless of their level of capacity to do the job. Forms of corruption like nepotism, bribes, and politically based decisions were commonplace. As such, the public’s perception of the police was that they were lawless and their trust and confidence soon eroded away. This era resulted in a need for reform. ...

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