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Officer's Views on Education?

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  • Officer's Views on Education?

    I hope I'm not opening up the proverbial can of worms here, and if this has been discussed at length in the past (didn't see much from searching) then just let me know.

    I'm currently finishing up my last year at college for a Bachelors Degree in English, and then hopefully joining a police department. I come from a relatively well educated family; my dad was an engineer, my mom a professor, all my siblings have gone to college and so on.

    My brother-in-law is a high school graduate and a State Trooper. We get along great, and he really is a very intelligent guy, though he has rather poor writing skills. Something I've noticed in conversations with him, and in ride-alongs with other officers, is that there seems to be quite a divide between those with college educations and those without.

    What I've been able to gather is that those without a higher education view those with a higher education as stuck-up
    Blogging through the Academy

  • #2
    Re: Officer's Views on Education?

    Originally posted by mheisig
    On the flip side, the college educated officers seem to regard the non-college educated officers as a bunch of bumbling, ignorant fools.
    college educated officers tend to view their non-college educated supervisors as bumbling fools.

    Originally posted by mheisig
    My question for you current officers is what has your experience been? How do you regard officers who are more or less educated than yourself, and how does it affect their job performance?
    more than anything, it affects how i view my supervisors. almost all of them are not college educated and you can readily tell. there are one or two with associates degrees, but they got them from some correspondence college on a military base. apparently they play cards all day because they haven't learned anything.

    the officers don't care. they often call me wanting to know how to fix a computer problem or ask me to proof read their reports. i have an AAS in computer programming and i have a semester and a half left to get my BS in business management with a concentration for human resources.

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    • #3
      I never saw problems with officers who had previously obtained degrees in subjects other than Criminal Justice. However, I often saw problems with officers who got their CJ degree before becoming a cop. The problem was they had learned theory but, by never having done the job, they didn't understand the principles of practical application and had no people skills when it came to dealing with volatile situations. As a result, they would often waltz into a hot call thinking they could difuse the situation with a few simple words of wisdom, only to turn the whole thing into a major incident.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        In CO most departments require an AA degree, some require a BA or BS...It is actually uncommon that dept's require no college...Although, many depts are dropping their standards as of late to get more applicants...
        And lo, as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
        I shall ask myself,
        "This is the f*cking Valley of the Shadow of Death! What the f*ck am I doing in the f*cking Valley of the Shadow of Death?!?!"

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        • #5
          The sterotypes you describe do exist, in part as defense mechanisms. The contain elements of truth, as all sterotypes do. There are college grads who just "never get it" on the streets, and those without degrees who are not the sharpest tools in the box. But the reverse is equally true.
          I learned to respect people for what they could do, and try to always go to the best source for information. I also tried to put the best people for the job in the best spots. I found a degree was no guarentee of anything, and the lack of one means nothing.
          "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
          John Stuart Mill

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          • #6
            Well it looks like the people on this forum are alot more rational than what I seem to have experienced.

            Thanks for the input - definitely helps.
            Blogging through the Academy

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            • #7
              Some of the smartest people I know didn't even graduate high school, and I've seen some Harvard grads that I wouldn't trust with sharp scissors.

              Here in MA, many police departments have a very generous education incentive, so probably over 90% of my department has at least an Associate's degree. Probably 70%+ have Master's degrees.

              We don't look down on those without a degree, but we're always getting on them to go back to school, because they're losing out on a lot of money.
              Talk sense to a fool, and he will call you foolish - Euripides

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              • #8
                Continual education whether it is classroom or otherwise is something that everyone should strive for regardless of who they are. Life is one big learning experience. If we stop learning, we remain stagnant. LE especially need to continually learn, adapt, overcome etc. You don't need formal education to be a good cop.

                There is no knowledge that is not power.
                I'll believe that when me $hit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbert.

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                • #9
                  Degrees

                  I don't agree with Sandman. I live in Colorado, and it seems that most Depts are going the way of dropping their college requirements. Denver doesn't have one, Aurora just dropped theirs, and they are the two largest PD's in the state. My point of view is that I wish the western states were more the east in that they treat Military and college on an equal basis. Being prior Military, I think military service prepares you much better than college does to be an officer. I learned what dedication, honor and courage ment by serving, not by attending Mr. Jones philosophy class on campus. I'm an FTO and the military guys I have trained seem, at least at first that they "get it" quicker than most of the college guys. Former military also seems to know the meaning of "Taking care of one another" out there means.

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                  • #10
                    Officer's views on education

                    Nothing is written in stone.It's been said that "Most people can only handle so much education".We've all seen college trained people who didn't have the sense to come in out of the rain. On the other hand,many people with liberal arts degrees have done very well in law enforcement. The key, in my view, is just good old common sense.That,and proper training will get most cops through most,if not all, situations they encounter.

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                    • #11
                      In my experience (and opinion), A college degree for a cop serves no purpose whatsoever.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Delta784
                        Some of the smartest people I know didn't even graduate high school, and I've seen some Harvard grads that I wouldn't trust with sharp scissors.
                        Yep. In fact, I don't understand why LE even gives a **** about "education" unless it's for PR/image purposes. I make a living ghost writing for people in college and grad school and I don't think anybody needs any "degree" to learn how to write better. It would be much cheaper and more efficient to just teach cops to write better if that's considered the main value of "higher" education.

                        In my opinion, the difference between the college educated people and less well educated people (cops included) is explained much more by the fact that inherently more intelligent people are MUCH more inclined to continue their education while inherently less intelligent people aren't. To me, the distinction is more about who winds UP in college much more so than who learns so much that it makes them so much smarter FOR having gone to college.

                        The other thing is that formal education rewards people who are "intelligent" in several relatively narrow areas of human intelligence and it allows some VERY bright people to slip entirely through the cracks, sometimes without EVER realizing that they're at least as "intelligent" as the vast majority of people who are considered so much smarter by virtue of a stupid degree, many of whom simply buy their papers from the hundreds of Internet paper mills like the ones I work for, anyway.
                        No longer ignoring anybody here, since that psycho known as "Josey Wales" finally got the boot after being outed as a LE imposter by B&G978. Nice job.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JB2245
                          In my experience (and opinion), A college degree for a cop serves no purpose whatsoever.
                          Not necessarily.

                          It impresses the hell out of jurors, for one. At almost every trial where I've testified, I can see the eyebrows on the jurors raise when I state that I have a Master's degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts.

                          It's also good to have if you ever get sued for police brutality, because your defense counsel can present studies that show college-educated officers are less likely to use excessive force.
                          Talk sense to a fool, and he will call you foolish - Euripides

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ProWriter
                            Yep. In fact, I don't understand why LE even gives a **** about "education" unless it's for PR/image purposes.
                            That's certainly part of it, but I outlined some other reasons in my above post.

                            I also had some fun with it recently. I was doing crowd control at a huge July 4th event, when some snot-nosed sophomore Sociology major tried to impress his friends by asking me a bunch of questions.

                            By the time I got done explaining Hirschi's Social Control Theory, he had to pick up his jaw from the ground. I felt like Will Hunting putting down the Harvard know-it-all in "Good Will Hunting".
                            Talk sense to a fool, and he will call you foolish - Euripides

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Delta784
                              By the time I got done explaining Hirschi's Social Control Theory, he had to pick up his jaw from the ground.
                              Hirschi's what now? Damn They havent taught me that here. What kind of a school am I going to???

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