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an educational divide ?


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  • an educational divide ?

    I did a ride out with an officer who held a Master's Degree. He said in his department there is an educational divide, of sorts, between those who have undergraduate and graduate degrees and those who don't. He said that when he's talked to officers without degrees about going back to college they indicate they don't want to because they'll be on the outside of their current group of buddies.

    Do you see any truth in this?

    I've heard of several 40-year-old-plus people with master's degrees going through an academy. One had a Ph.D. I can understand potential problems if a new officer comes in acting like know-it-all.
    Other than that, is there an "educational divide?"

  • #2

    Yeah, I was wondering the same as well. This morning a local police officer told me not to become a cop if I'm willing to get a four-year degree or more. He said that not many officers even have a two-year and they would look upon me as an outcast. Personally, I think that is a little ridiculous considering more and more departments seem to be giving educational bonuses and whatnot. Besides, I might as well do something worthwhile while I am waiting to turn 21 ...might as well get an education


    • #3
      The only division is the brain

      There seems to be a great deal of mumbling about this topic, I can tell you this just recently we had a PHD and a Masters degree fail their probation and lost their job... just because you have a degree does not mean that you are superior to anyone. Our job is a complex measurment of fear,patients,virtue, and good ole common brain work... I dont care if one of the officers can quote newtons law or Ohms Law, he/she better have a their three points of contact wired togeather TIGHT or all that brain smarts is going to get them and or someone else hurt, Critical thinking is a learned skill and no Academy can give you that instantly, take your base knowledge and take all the input that you can get, keep your eyes open, and trust your instincts and you will be a good Cop.. a PHD does not matter to that three time looser who you just stoped and has already decided its you or him,,, now just to clarify, I too have an degree and we have a few officers with advanced degrees who are damn good street cops, but they too agree you have to leave English Lit at the door when you suit up and the only history that matters is making your shift history and going home in one piece.


      • #4
        Last edited by Nobody; 03-14-2004, 08:49 PM.


        • #5
          We have several officers with Master's and two with PH.D's. I would not say they are looked upon differently, but they do not act like know it all's either. The department likes education, and encourages all officers to take classes. GoldenSabre... what was it they did to get terminated?
          In law enforcement, the customer is ALWAYS wrong.

          In God we trust. Everyone else is run through NCIC.

          Sometimes there is justice. Sometimes there is just us.

          I'd rather be tried by 12 then carried by 6.

          The opinions given in my posts do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only.


          • #6

            The Terminations for both were simply inabaility to adapt, they could not function in a safe decisive manner. Both of them were realy great guys but after several incidents where they failed to take charge, make decisions based on the info in front of them and in one case the actions or lack there of could have gotten a 17 yr old girl killed or injured if it had not been for our county brothers in arms taking up the slack ( whole differant issue). Now I do not believe that an degree made these guys any better or worse or was the cause of their failure, they were just more laid back, anti agressive, and tried to think an issue to death before action, but there again being the other extreme can have the same effect..


            • #7
              Within my dept. there is little if any "divide" between people with and without degrees. We have many with 4yrs, some with masters, and EVERYONE with more than 4yrs on has at least a 2yr (its a requirement in WI). We get education incentive, 12% for 2yr, 18% for 4yr. MPD gets incentive beyond that and many of their officers have much more education. In some of the local PD's they even pay tuition reimbursement beyond a 2yr. If one wants an education, it is VERY easy to get one in this area and without any "social" issues with your co-workers.
              Nobody ever wants to have to fight, but its a darn good idea for someone to know how.


              • #8
                i came onto this job with a 4 year degree. ive never noticed any problems between those of us with degrees and those without. i admit that my education has caused me to think differently and have different opinions about certain issues but nothing that affects what happens on the street. we have a team that works well here. we dont have those problems.
                "The American public will find it refreshing to see a Republican candidate, who's not a moralistic, sexually repressed, crusading hypocrite, who cruises airport men's rooms late at night."
                William Shatner


                • #9
                  Education has nothing to do with common sense or the ability to interact with people (the things I feel that are the most important for a street officer).

                  Education merely trains you to use your brain. It may or may not make you an expert on a given topic (I know lots of MBA's who couldn't run a shoe shop let alone a DOT com).

                  I am seeing more and more officers with advanced degrees in engineering and business. The simple reason is because of the downturn, there are not a whole lot of high paying jobs right now.


                  • #10
                    Depends on the PD. My dept requires a 4 yr degree at entry so there is no divide. We get flak from officers on other depts because of this requirement. We also have two officers with PhD's and several with masters degrees. Of the two "doctors", one is humble, and a great investigator, the other is an arrogant micromanaging supervisor that no-one likes. It depends on the person, not the letters after their names. The best cops I have worked with are ex-military, or were college athletes.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nobody
                      I think that degrees are more important to the Department's public relations people than they are to the officers or the job.

                      I've never noticed any rift between the have's and have not's.

                      Personally I don't think it's a very good indication of fitness for duty, local/state/or federal.

                      I haven't seen much of a rift in my agency (or my last one). All I have is a high school diploma and the college credits I earned through the Air Force and I fit in just fine. Most of the officers we have are college-educated. Where I have seen a rift is between the 22-year old college graduate with little real-life experience trying to tell a 10-year veteran with half as much college and a tour in the Army what's right and wrong.

                      There are very few departments left in this region that requires a 4-year degree, I can only recall Arlington, TX and Tulsa, OK off the top of my head.
                      "A man's got to know his limitations" --Inspector Harry Callahan in Magnum Force


                      • #12
                        I worked for department that required 45 hours to apply, but about half the officers had 4 yr degrees... I must admit that education is not a substitute for common sense, but quite a few uneducated folks have no common sense, either. A college educated officer tends to have a better command of language when writing reports and testifying in court. College also (for most people) improves one's social skills. This has a measurable effect on PR and citizen complaints. Over time, as police forces become better educated, it puts officers in a position to demand higher pay. Sneer all you want about education, but as long as departments require only high school, police work will continue to be seen as a 'blue collar' job by most outsiders.


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