Written by attorney David Nelson Jolly

DUI History: The History of Law Enforcement-Police Education (part 2)

Published with permission from the book, DUI/DWI: The History of Driving Under the Influence, David N. Jolly. Outskirts Press (2009)

DUI History: The History of Law Enforcement-Police Education (part 2) After World War II the increase in advanced education recognizing the importance of educating the police continued to grow. In 1954, the City College of New York established a Police Science Program under the joint sponsorship of the Bernard Baruch School of Business and Public Administration and the New York City Police Department. The program was primarily a two-year program offering an Associate degree in Police Science. A graduate program leading to the Master of Public Administration with a major in Police Science was offered shortly after the undergraduate program was introduced.

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice developed out of the program at City College of New York. Although the college still serves the New York City Police Department primarily, the admission policy has been liberalized and a limited number of general students are admitted to the program. The school proudly states that it "is probably the largest and most comprehensive assemblage of criminal justice scholars and practicing professionals of any college in the world."

Combining traditional policing and education formally began in 1967 with the Report of the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. This report made the policing community confront their weaknesses and produce "better-educated police officers." Katzenbach, Nicholas deB. United States President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. Task Force on the Police. Washington, D.C.: Govt Print Off. (1967) Specifically, the President's Commission recommended that "the ultimate aim of all police departments should be that all personnel with general enforcement powers have baccalaureate degrees," and "police departments should take immediate powers have baccalaureate degrees," and "police departments should take immediate steps to establish a minimum requirement of a baccalaureate degree for all supervisory and executive positions."

Following this federal "encouragement" criminal justice education expanded rapidly with the availability of Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) funds from the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. Even still, there was much debate over the quality of initial education programs in the criminal justice field and there was also significant push-back from traditional law enforcement. Later, in 1973, the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals stated in Standard 15.1 that every police agency should no later than: 1975, require as a condition of initial employment the completion of at least 2 years of college education; 1978, require as a condition of initial employment the completion of at least 3 years of college education; and by 1982, require as a condition of initial employment the completion of at least 4 years of college education.

Since the 1970s the practice of law enforcement education and training has altered the basic framework of police departments. Legislative mandates have enforced improvements over the traditional police training curricula. As a result, despite initial concerns, many 4-year Degree programs now give academic credit for completing police academy training in some systems under transfer rules that carry 2-year students into the 4-year institutions (even though the actual number of credit hours tends to be limited). By 1988 (in a survey of 531 law enforcement agencies with 100 or more sworn officers or serving a population of 50,000 or more) the average educational level of officers was 13.6 years. Carter, David L. and Sapp, Allen D. College Education and Policing: Coming of Age. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (January 11, 1992) Although the minimum educational requirements for entry into the field are not increasing significantly, the competition for the jobs is.

A study published by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) published in 1989 also reported on the state of education in the police field. Carter, David L., Sapp, Allen D., and Stephens, Darrel W. The State of Police Education: Policy Direction for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: Police Executive Research Forum (1989) It found that 55% of all police officers in the study had completed two years of college, as compared to 15% in 1970.

There should be no excuse for law enforcement regarding opportunity of education. Since the 1960s the range of available law enforcement classes has grown exponentially. By the early 1960s, only about 60 educational programs existed nationally but since the creation of the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) as part of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration of the late 1960s and early 1970s this number increased to over 750 programs available by 1977. Hoover, Larry T. The Educational Criteria: Dilemmas and Debate in Swank, Calvin and James A. Conser. The Police Personnel System. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. (1983) Although exact data is not available it is estimated that there are about 1,000 criminal justice education programs in the United States today.

Recently, Tulsa, Oklahoma became the largest city in the nation and the only city in that state to require a baccalaureate degree for new recruits, effective January 1998. Chief Palmer states that officers with college degrees "come to you a little bit more mature, they're a little more aware of diversity issues, and they're more prone to use their minds to problem-solve than one that doesn't have that type of background... What I've seen here is that there's a world of difference between high school graduate and a college graduate in regard to skill levels and the handling of people." Men & Women of Letters. Law Enforcement News (November 30, 1997) Of Tulsa's 794 officers, 73% have baccalaureate degrees, and another 20% have 60 hours or more of college; 40 officers have master's degrees, three have law degrees, and one has a Ph.D. Id.

In 2000 the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) completed a survey, their sixth, presenting information on law enforcement agencies in the United States. LEMAS found that in agencies of 100 or more sworn personnel about 25% of local agencies required some college; 10% required a degree, and only 2% required a baccalaureate degree. Reaves, Brian and Hickman, Matthew J. Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistic, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice (2004) Of the 49 state agencies, approximately one-third required some college; 12% required an associate degree, and 2% required a baccalaureate degree at the time of appointment. Id. Two states, Minnesota and Wisconsin, reported that law enforcement personnel were required by state standards to possess a minimum of an associate degree (however, in Wisconsin, an officer has up to 5 years to complete the associate degree after appointment).

One of the problems with marrying "education" and "training" is that the two have fundamentally different roles, even though they should complement each other. Education should be used as a foundation and prepare students to excel in any training regimen or philosophy or in any occupation, regardless of their academic major. The process of education is focused on obtaining the skills that are necessary to learn while training emphasizes the transfer of fact or philosophy. Training on the other hand is designed to systematically build particular skills to achieve certain ends.

While the benefits of education are obvious to many there has been conflicting research on the matter. However, the general scholastic view is that on the whole a better educated police force is better equipped and holds great community respect. In his review of the literature, David Hayeslip argued that officers with higher education have higher motivation, are better able to utilize innovative techniques, display clearer thinking, have a better understanding of the world of policing, and the necessity of education given the role of police. Hayeslip, David W. Jr. Higher Education and Police Performance Revisited: The Evidence Examined through Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Police. 8(2): 49-63 (1989)

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