1) Police departments requiring police officers to obtain an Associate’s degree or higher prior to employment is necessary and fair. Police should be required to complete college courses, as it informs them more. According to Hall and Lambert, there are several factors that influence the need for higher edication of officers (Hall & Lambert, 2007). Officers need further education, due to the information presented in sociology courses and other courses that require them to think strategically and without bias. Courses of humanities such as sociology and psychology presents a curriculum that expose students to information about different types of people and cultures (Mayo, 2006). These classes assist with understanding the community in which an officer works in. Another reason officers need advanced education is to offer ideas and techniques that can be used by officers to research. Statistic courses are essential to studying statistics and patterns of behavior; which can be used to create new procedures. These strategies that are taught in statistics can teach officers to investigate and analyze criminal behaviors (Hall & Lambert,2007). It is vital for officers to be knowledgeable of research procedures and to be able to read the results of studies conducted. Sociology focuses on ways to study and understand humans. The terminology in sociology classes help to reduce stereotypes, stigmas, and bias towards a particular group of people. Reducing stereotypes can decrease the instances of racial profiing and other programs such as “Stop and Frisk” (Hickman & Reaves, 2006).
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2) At this point in time, I do not agree that it is fair and or necessary to require frontline supervisors such as sergeants and or lieutenants to posses associate and bachelor degrees. The monetary investment that would be required for obtaining an associates or bachelors degree would not get a good investment with a poor return considering what a police officers base salary is. In a study conducted from 1982 to 2003 law enforcement had the smallest yearly additions to their budgets than other tax funded operations (Doerner, 2012, p. 74). According to research by Doerner (2012), “average starting salaries for entry-level officers were 1.2% higher in 2007 than in 2003 after adjusting for inflation”(p. 74). Due to funding issues from shrinking tax collections, many police agencies have had to resort to not buying and or upgrading necessary equipment as well as cuts in training (Doerner, 2012, p. 75). With law enforcement being a tax funded operation, it will always be at the mercy of taxpayers as well as the mechanisms in place to generate tax revenue, as such it will always be in a very basic level of the employment field when it comes to salaries and benefits. I personally believe that if you were going to mandate a degree for front line supervision positions, an associates would be the highest level required for the position of lieutenant and then go up from there.
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