November 27, 2012
Criminal Justice 1010, 5:30 Tuesday
Do Police Officers need a College Education?
College Education has long been a standard of professional attainment. In most circles,
those who hold degrees are viewed more favorably. The police, their actions, behavior, attitudes
and a host of other factors are under constant public scrutiny. Higher education represents
expanded knowledge and understanding, determination, and endurance. It serves as a mark of
professional and personal accomplishment. It would no doubt serve to increase a positive image
of law enforcement if local police were required to obtain a college degree.
I strongly believe that a police officer should at least have a two year college degree. An
officer with a college degree will less likely to use force. Study shows that Police Officers with
a college degree less likely to use force. It shows that 56% of those officers with a college
degree do not use force such as: verbally threatening suspects, grabbing or punching, use mace
or pepper spray, hitting suspect with a baton, handcuffing, throwing to the ground, pointing or
firing a gun at the suspect. On the other hand 68% with no college education use force.
According to a study conducted by William Terrill (An Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
at Michigan State) said: “We found that a college education significantly reduces the likelihood
of force occurring. The difference is real. It truly is because the officer was more educated, not
because the suspect was more resistant.”
Officers with only a high school diploma are more apt to say, “I’m the law and I have the
authority to make you do it, and I’m going to put my hands on you and make you do it.”
Officers with and college degree are more skilled at resolving problems without having to resort
to force. They’re giving the citizen alternative means of compliance. They are not just relying
on the stick. College educated officers hold less authoritarian beliefs than officers with no
college, get higher ratings from their superiors and fewer complaints from citizens, have fewer
injuries, place a higher value on ethical behavior and are better verbal communications. Having
a college degree can open more doors for advancement and initial placement within the police
Various positions in the police departments will require different level of education. I
strongly believed that in order for an individual to become a police officer, a two year college
degree should be the minimum education requirements. In addition to performance and
experiences, I believe one needs to hold a bachelor degree in order to hold the title of being a
Sergeant or Lieutenant. With the knowledge and the experiences an office will have, the better
he or she will perform the task of each position. Higher education will help a person makes a
I believe that in order for someone to hold the position of being a captain or chief in the
police department, he or she needs to hold a master degree. The benefits of higher education are
well pronounced. College graduates earn more money and enjoy greater prestige. I think that
an officer should be paid according to the amount of education he has and also his performance.
The more education you have the more you get paid. It won’t be fair for someone with a two
year degree to have the same pay rate as someone who spent four years in college to get his or
her degree. As I have said before, having a college degree can open more doors for
advancement and initial placement within the police department. Salaries need to be adjusted
along with any educational requirement within the police department.
Police officers are responsible for enforcing laws and maintaining peace within our
society. A college educated officer is believed to be more efficient than the non-college
educated officer. College degree officer tend to perform better under stress, more easily able to
adapt to change and extra work. I believe that college educated officer have a greater leadership
ability, better communicating skills and a more expansive understanding of the law. I also
believe that college educated officers are superior problem solvers.
If we raise the requirements for those who want to become a police officer, then we will
have more qualified officers to deal with our society needs. We will have more office that will
take matters seriously and approach situations with some other solutions other than force. Police
officers with a college degree deserve to be well recognized and deserve more respect. They are
the law, and we look up to them to uphold them.