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john65pennington's avatar

Do you believe a police officer's education plays a part in how he handles the public?

Asked by john65pennington (29253points) February 21st, 2012

At one time, in my police department, only job applicants were accepted that had at least an Associate Degree. That has since been changed. Question: why do you think that only people with an Associated Degree or higher, would have been considered as a police officer? Could their thinking be the higher the education, the less likely of lawsutis involving police brutality? I value your opinions.

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10 Answers

downtide's avatar

I’m sure it’s a factor, but only one of many. The requirement is probably more to do with having an arbitrary way of filtering out too many applicants.

HungryGuy's avatar

I have no idea. Though I do remember taking an elective in criminology one semester. It was fun trying to solve a pretend murder as a class project.

I think it’s like any job. They want people who are skilled in the technology and procedures. When you learn something “on the job,” there’s a lot of specialized knowledge you never learn.

thorninmud's avatar

This is just speculation, but maybe the reasoning goes like this:

The department is going to invest a certain amount of money in putting the recruits through training, right? It’s pretty rigorous training, so it will take a certain amount of discipline, perseverance, and will power to get through. The department would like, if possible to preselect candidates that are most likely to get through training so that the department will recoup on its investment.

One way to do that would be to screen candidates for those who have in some way already shown an ability to work through a system of training to achieve a goal. Setting this degree requirement would do that.

It might not be so much that they’re looking for the education, but more that they see it as evidence of desirable character traits.

Ron_C's avatar

Police work is tough. A good cop is a diplomat, defender of the weak, and bouncer. I had trouble as a temporary cop in Barcelona, I can’t imagine doing that job as a career.
Police training is important. I have known police that went to Police academies and police that were factory workers the day before they put on the police uniform. I would say the Academy trained policemen far exceeds the untrained officer.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I would think that the college that the police officer attends is as important as the education that is received as far as how police officers interact with the public that they are supposed to protect & defend. If the college is religious based, then it is likely that the education will produce rigid interpretations of the law & rigid interactions with the public. If the college is more liberal, then the education will likely produce police officers with a more liberal attitude towards the public.

6rant6's avatar

I don’t think the degree was a requirement primarily for dealing with the public. Mainly, I think it was to make them more competent all around – they should know the law, be able to write decently and fill out paperwork, have a decent vocabulary, et cetera. A degree would not assure thee things of course, but it would have some correlation.

Also, the degree would help departments reduce applicant pools numerically, and get them people who are adult enough and disciplined enough to get through training.

A small part of the education – psychology, world affairs, and such – would make them more able to deal with people. The degree to which they sound educated might also help them in some situations. But I think that was a minor issue, really, in imposing that requirement.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, people with any kind of degree above a high school diploma have pretty much proven that they’re willing to work all on their own, without anyone forcing them to.

6rant6's avatar

@Dutchess_III So you’re saying… all college graduates are self motivated? What state do you live in? And what planet is it on?~

linguaphile's avatar

Regardless of how much education a police officer has, I think they need at least a month of diversity training and shouldn’t be out in the field if they can’t handle certain needs. (I like the sound of diversity training better than sensitivity training)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@6rant6 If they didn’t have a reason to stay in college, they wouldn’t because they don’t have to. Kid’s in HS stay because it’s the law, but for a lot of them, the instant they get old enough…15, 16, to drop out, they do because they realize no one can really FORCE them to stay, they do. So if a student goes on to college and actually obtains a degree, that says something about them and their own willingness to work for something better because no one forced them to do it.
And your thoughts?

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