new and precise College Requirement

new and precise College Requirement

In the 1974 Task Force Report Police, one of the recommendations was that by 1982, all police officers would be required to have a minimum of 4 years college education as an entry requirement.  Since then, more and more police departments have made college education mandatory for hiring.

You are chief of a small (35 sworn) police department (12,000 residents).  Currently, there are 3 vacancies.  The newly elected city council wants college (4 year) education a mandatory hiring criteria.  You have been resisting, however, you have been called before the council meeting tonight to present why you have not submitted a revised recruitment and hiring plan that includes the educational requirement.

You are aware that many police departments require college education to varying degrees.  Some require a certain number of completed hours, while others require a degree.  Still, there are some departments that still require only a high school diploma, which is the requirement for your department.  One of the stumbling blocks is that your jurisdiction has a residency requirement.  Practically all of your personnel were raised in the jurisdiction.  Only two moved in after being selected.  This has always been the case, a small town department with a small town mentally, where everyone knows everyone else.  One of the problems is the educational level of the residents who form the pool of applicants who meet the age requirement of twenty-one years.

Less than high school………………..15%

High school diploma………….…….70%

Some college………………………..   5%

College graduate………………….    9%

Advanced degree…………………    1%


You grew up in this town, were fortunate to have received a full scholarship to college, but returned after graduation and joined the police department.  You would like nothing better to have a more educated police department however, the demographics are working against you.  The other issue that tends to confound you is the belief that college-educated people make better police officers.  As you look at some of the more highly educated police departments around the country, e.g. Los Angeles Police Department, you find that they have excessive force issues, have been or are currently under Justice Department “Consent Decrees” and spend millions of taxpayer dollars in litigation.  There just does seem to be a correlation between college education and better policing.


The meeting is fast approaching and you have to prepare your remarks. Which way will you go, for or against the college requirement (at least at this time) and how will you justify your position?


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