Should police departments require a 4 year college degree for employment?

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    theguru's Avatar
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    Should police departments require a 4 year college degree for employment?

    According to a publication called "Police Quarterly," there is a public debate that has gone or for a some time over whether or not police departments should require a 4 year college degree for employment. Statistics show that more than 75% of all police-disciplinary cases (over 85% if you include excessive force lawsuits) involve officers with no college education, compared to only 11% of such cases involving officers with college experience. Only 1% of police forces nationally require a 4 year college degree, and only 8% of departments require any college experience. Other studies suggest that college-educated officers are only half as likely to respond with force in a dangerous situation than their high-school educated comrades, and those same studies show that a new college graduate officer is considered to have the same "aptitude" (whatever that means) as an officer of 10 years experience. However, local governments appear reluctant to require college degrees, at least in part due to the fact that entry-level officers are paid so poorly. The median national salary for officers' is $56,580, and that includes figures for some of the top paid detectives. There certainly is no financial incentive to go to school and then enter into this line of work. So, while statistically we would prefer to have college-educated officers, are we prepared to commit to higher taxes and allocation of tax resources to provide public safety and defend us against the clear trend of the country's moral decline?
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    theguru's Avatar
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    Saw this on Facebook, looks like a good topic for debate.

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    Randy Parker's Avatar
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    I don't know that I'd require it, but I think I would incentivize having a 4-year degree--to the point that the vast majority of officers would get one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Parker View Post
    I don't know that I'd require it, but I think I would incentivize having a 4-year degree--to the point that the vast majority of officers would get one.
    So you would raise taxes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by theguru View Post
    So you would raise taxes?
    If it came to that, yes.

    But I don't think it would have to come to that.

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    I know to work Louisville Metro you have to have a degree...

    Part of me says yes, that's a good idea, and part of me says time in a Police Academy would be just as, if not more beneficial than a 4-year degree.

    Not to mention, I know PLENTY of people with four year degrees that I wouldn't want being police officers. Book smart, but not street smart.

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    As for more taxes, I would absolutely pay more taxes to pay police officers better. I would do that even before talking about educational qualifications.

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    First question is what would we get as a community if we changed the requirements? How does it make the community safer? Does it somehow make the community more attractive to businesses?

    If those can't be answered convincingly the rest is academic.

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    Second question is in regards to a community being willing to pay extra for college graduates. I think just like the subject of teacher requirements/abilities we love to talk a good game but we NEVER walk the walk when it comes to paying more.

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    Regarding the 85% stat: What % of police officers across the country are college graduates. My assumption is that it's low so that stat might be misleading.

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    It wasn't too long ago that we had a thread about NYC requiring their officers' IQ's to be under a certain level, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelCrazy View Post
    It wasn't too long ago that we had a thread about NYC requiring their officers' IQ's to be under a certain level, right?
    Correct. Maybe that's the better way to go. Every job has a profile of people that fit the best. If having an IQ that is out of the norm is an indicator of a low likelihood of success then I'm all for that rule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelCrazy View Post
    It wasn't too long ago that we had a thread about NYC requiring their officers' IQ's to be under a certain level, right?
    With technology that is all going to change from not wanting guys and gals that are too smart to wanting the very best you can get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Parker View Post
    If it came to that, yes.

    But I don't think it would have to come to that.
    You would definitely have to raise taxes.

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    I will say it again, in the big picture most police officers are nothing more than pawns.

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