It wasn’t until about 50 years ago that the law enforcement field actually implemented efforts to encourage its members to pursue higher level of education. Prior this, just about anyone can be a police officer – it’s just a matter of who is willing. The number of law enforcement officers who’ve attained a bachelor’s degree tripled in the first 15 years of the initiatives that pushed for a higher level of education in the field.
To talk about the state of education in law enforcement, it’s history, impact and link to other issues Dr. Chase Wetherington. He is a Detective with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Florida where he’s been a part of the Field Training and Intelligence Unit.
Topics he discussed in this webinar include:
- Walking through the history of pursuing higher education in the law enforcement field.
- The very first idea of the need for officer readiness as early as the 1700s.
- How society chose who will be enforcing the law prior to any guidelines, tests or training.
- The very first formal college police program.
- The challenges posed by the lack of education in the law enforcement workforce and the financial constraints that prevent the success of programs aiming to enhance education.
- Initiatives from the government to push for a higher level of education that hopes to bring better leaders.
- Perception of law enforcement across the different facets of society and how these impact the officers and their relationship with the communities they serve.
- A look into the reality of law enforcement’s citizen interaction and the prevalence of use of force.
- The double-edged sword when it comes to setting an agency’s hiring requirements.
- The correlation between higher education requirements and the percentage of female officers in an agency.
- Case examples that demonstrate the legality of educational requirements during hiring.
- Researches that exhibit how higher educational requirements…
- Result in better performance in the academy.
- Enables law enforcement officers assigned in school policing to be better equipped in assisting minority and disabled students.
- Does not affect the number of disciplinary issues but tends to impact the severity of the offense committed.
- The various factors that play a role in an individual’s likelihood for success in law enforcement.
- Questions raised during the Q&A segment concerned:
- Accessing resources and research used for the webinar.
- Up to date resources on the public’s perception of law enforcement.
- The importance of having both formal education and on the job training.
- “The length of time that education in law enforcement has been an emphasis was surprising to me. Thank you for the information.” — Karyn
- “More education helps people do a better job – opens the mind, communicate better. Far too many people have a closed mind.” — Renee
- “One valuable thing I learned was the history of policing and how for over 100 years… Policing has been pressing higher education.” — Tawsha
- “Research validated my perception. Good presentation; however, my agency trains our officers in-house.” — Ronald