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  • Lowering Standards

    These are questions that are more directed towards the management of most departments, but all are welcome to get in on this discussion.

    I'm a sophomore Criminal Justice major in College. I'm also one of the few Campus Safety and Security officers at my university as well. I've been on this site for over a year now both reading through the forums and looking at other career opportunities that have been posted (as well as looking at the different traits many departments would like applicants to have). From talking with my professors, and even looking at the diminishing standards that departments have, it makes me really wonder what is going on with the recruiting and hiring process of most police agencies in America. The specific standards that I'm talking about refer to illegal drug use. I tend to see and hear recruiters state that "experimental" drug use is okay *though not encouraged*. Maybe I'm just being too stringent about this policy, but last time I checked, it has never been okay to use any illegal drug, not even for experimental use. So why even allow it to pass through the interviewing process? I understand that people do change their behaviors over time and mature. However, I do not believe that 24 months is enough time for someone to "kick the habbit" so to say.

    Police have a highly respectable service to provide to their communities. Officers are not only expected, but are required to hold themself in high moral, ethical, and lawful regard. I personally feel that when a department lowers their standards for whatever reason, that they are putting their department and community at higher risk. I for one don't want to graduate college and see what departments I CAN apply at, but I would rather study and apply at departments that set themself at a higher standard than the rest. I feel that with the diminishing standards that we have in law enforcment today, it is going to be harder and harder to have the best officer serve the community *as well as along side their fellow officers*. Even if they are a "good" officer, you still have to realize this: the good is the enemy of the best. Rather than lower standards for whatever reason, I feel that Police need to become more exclusive and raise the standards for their departments. Police are the communities finest for a reason! Take pride in that, and *aside from sounding cliche* be all that you can be!

    My questions are simply these-
    Why have standards for hiring police officers been lowering (generally speaking)? Furthermore, what can the departments do to start raising the standards in the hiring process to become the best department they can be? Also, what are your feelings and thoughts regarding this issue, and why do you feel this way?



    *LETV-in the mean time, take care of yourself, and take care of your partner!*

  • #2
    Why have standards for hiring police officers been lowering
    My best guess and some may not like it but I'm a blunt-to the point-don't like to beat around the bush person; would be a little waste of a thing called Affirmative Action. Its not just police, its everywhere and by gorge you can tell it too.



    Furthermore, what can the departments do to start raising the standards in the hiring process to become the best department they can be?
    I believe this can never happen in today's political, left wing nut world. The mayor and the politicians ain't worried about a good department, we are just a number. Hire someone to be seen, and fill your Affirmative Action quotas and that makes him and the town happy. IMHO.


    Also, what are your feelings and thoughts regarding this issue, and why do you feel this way?
    If you ever become a police officer, you'll go from "I want to help everyone and save the world" to having a bitter outlook on ppl, races and the world. right now you are seeing the sugar coated side, wait till you see the real side. I'm not saying I don't enjoy my job, helping ppl etc, I just now see how the real world of policing is and its not a pretty one. Politics are 99% of the problem.
    Last edited by johnnyradar; 11-05-2007, 06:13 AM. Reason: ..
    I don't like repeat offenders, I like dead offenders.

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    • #3
      It's simple, supply and demand. The product is the job. There simply aren't many people willing to do the job at the price being offered. A perfect example. Recently I was looking at other job opportunities for people with a four year degree. I could go to work at a large national company as a loss prevention manager, making +$45k or go to work as a police officer making +-$30k right out of the gate the loss prevention manager makes more. Then with the annual raises/promotions the loss prevention manager's pay goes up quickly. Another company I looked at only started at -+$35k, however one of my cpl's buddies got out of LE and went to work for that company and within three years was promoted to district then regional loss prevention manager. His pay went form -$35k up to -+$85k plus bonuses over that three year time frame. Of course the number of hours he had to work went up dramatically, but he did not normally work more than 80 hours per week so it was a pay raise.

      One agency I know of had a requirement of a four year degree. Their pay was about 3-4k more than most of the surrounding agencies. They soon realized they could not maintain the requirement for the degree, because they did not receive enough qualified applicants to replace losses.
      But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

      For the intelectually challenged: If the government screws the people enough, it is the right and responsibility of the people to revolt and form a new government.

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      • #4
        Disagree

        We have not lowered our standards, nor do we plan to lower them.
        Better finish your degree if you want a job!!!!!!!!!
        "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm" -George Orwell

        "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing diapers." - Blues Brothers

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        • #5
          Lower your standards to fill "quotas" and you do the community in which you serve as well as the officers who met or exceeded standards a disservice. It also forces officers to put their lives in the hands of people that are not necessarily qualified to take on that responsibility. LOWERING STANDARDS JUST TO HAVE THE RIGHT MIX OF PEOPLE IS A MISTAKE!
          "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything!"-Wyatt Earp

          "You never know when crazy will show up!"-Irishdep

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          • #6
            The only agency I recall lowering standards in my area is Metro Nashville PD. That is the biggest agency and the one that tends to need people more often than others. I would not necessarily say they "lowered" their standards, just opted to substitute college for job security (5+ years at current workplace) and/or military. I don't see this as a bad thing. People who have been in the business long enough know that college does not necessarily make one a better officer.

            In your post, it seems that you are referring to the drug issue as far as lowering standards. Drug expirmentation during your teen years (or early college years) should not immediately eliminate someone from the opportunity to be a police officer. I never experimented with any drugs, even marijuana, but I know some people who did and turned out to be great folks. What patterns most LE agencies look for are those people who continued drug use even after the "peer pressure" times in their lives. We all went through high school and lacked maturity and were quick to do things to fit in, whether legal or not. I consumed alcohol before 21, does that make me unfit for law enforcement work 3-5 years later?

            LE agencies want to see those who learn from their mistakes and grow into a better individual. If your background shows a pattern of irresponsibility and continued bad choices, then more than likely, you will not be hired. Nothing wrong with that.
            I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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            • #7
              The simple fact of life is that a lot of people tried a little marijuana in HS or college. Does that mean they are never capable of being police officers? Each agency determines its own drug participation/ drug free time.

              Also, as stated above, for some agencies it is a matter of supply and demand.

              Comment


              • #8
                My questions are simply these-
                Why have standards for hiring police officers been lowering (generally speaking)?
                Note:

                Agencies had to begin lowering standards in the early 1970s in order to stay out of court. Suits were being filed in the areas of women's rights, personal rights, discrimination against height, weight, national origin, religion, etc.

                Prior to that era almost every agency in the nation advertised for police officers with the minimum requirements being: Male, 5'9" to 6'5", weight proportionate to height, waist not bigger that the chest in repose, high school graduate or equivalent, vision not worse than 20/40 uncorrected, no physical deformities, etc., etc.

                In order to fill federally mandated "quotas" agencies had to revise all minimum standards, rewrite tests, re-design physical fitness standards, revise background investigations and on and on and on.

                Furthermore, what can the departments do to start raising the standards in the hiring process to become the best department they can be? Also, what are your feelings and thoughts regarding this issue, and why do you feel this way?
                Without a mandate that prospective officers attain a higher level of education before applying, agencies paying more for officer services, the communities willingness to increase taxes and support criminal supression as neighbors, there is not a lot that will or can be done to improve what is now being done.

                Taxpayers are willing to pay just so much for what they believe is necessary to fulfill their community and no amount of begging will alter their concepts until they have become a victim and need those services.

                Privatization of public services may be one aspect to review but that might lead to overzealous enforcement and a supression of civil rights. Can you imagine a group similar to "Blackwater" performing law enforcement duties in your city?
                Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

                [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SemiMBA
                  IMHO – Affirmative action did not hurt law enforcement. It forced departments to hire women and minorities where it did not exist in the past.
                  You are not sworn law enforcement so how do you know if it hurt it or not?

                  Affirmative action is more interested in the makeup of a department than in the quality. AA will pass on a qualified white male for a less qualified woman or minority all in the sake of political correctness. How anyone can say that doesn't hurt law enforcement or any other line of work is beyond me. Hire the best you can get be they white, black, or any other color. Period. If that is all white males fine, if it is all black females fine, but put the best out there and quit worrying about appeasing the whiny crowd and start worrying about what is important.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SemiMBA
                    IMHO – Affirmative action did not hurt law enforcement. It forced departments to hire women and minorities where it did not exist in the past.
                    I too, must disagree.

                    There's something everyone forgets about affirmative action. It was never intended to discriminate, or give preference in hiring based on gender or race. Instead, it was intended to achieve ethnic and gender parity in the work force by leveling the playing field in hiring and giving everyone a chance to compete on an equal footing. What that meant was:

                    1. Tests had to be validated to show that the questions they posed were asked of everyone and had a legitimate relationship to the job in question. But in no case were testing or hiring standards to be lowered.

                    2. Recruitment efforts (advertising, job fairs, etc) would be more heavily targeted towards members of underrepresented groups.

                    3. Efforts would be made to recruit qualified candidates from underrepresented groups who were already working in the profession for other employers, or successfully training for the jobs in school.

                    4. Government employers would identify why most people failed their exams and then provide remedial training to whoever wanted it (irrespective of gender or race) so they could better compete in the next exam. For example, most people who fail the State of California written exam for Officer Services Supervisor do so because they are short on accounting skills. Accordingly, remedial training in basic accounting should be made available to candidates signed up for that test.

                    5. Quotas or specific preferences based on gender or ethnicity were only allowed to remedy specific, proven cases of discrimination and not just vague allegations. For example, until the early 1970s, the State of California had a written policy refusing to appoint females to any of its peace officer jobs due to the "inherently dangerous nature of the position." In that case, giving preference females was authorized to remedy proven gender discrimination.

                    Sadly, the program was quickly prostituted.

                    One of the problems of affirmative action is that people tend to apply with the agency that pays the most, leaving lower paying agencies with a lack of candidates from underrepresented classes. In turn, this tends to thwart affirmative action goals in lower paying agencies and frustrate their EEO managers, causing them to bend the rules, lower standards, create unlawful quotas and formulate unwritten practices that are totally contrary to the "official" affirmative action rules, so that their programs don't look like failures. Thats when the nightmares start.

                    As an example, one of the AA goals is to ensure ethnic and gender parity in the workforce when compared to population being served. What most people don't know is that once parity is achieved, the rules of AA said that the group in question was deemed to have achieved equality in the workforce, that they would no longer qualify for AA benefits and that it would be the responsibility of the group in question to maintain their numbers. Those rules have long been ignored, turning the whole system upside down. As early as 1983, a survey of State of California employee staffing determined that:

                    1. One group made up 62% of the population but only held 57% of the state jobs. Although they were clearly under parity, they were deemed to have achieved equality and no longer entitled to AA relief.

                    2. OTOH, another group comprised 31% of the population but only held 16% of the state jobs (almost 50% under parity). They only got token AA relief.

                    3. Yet, another group only comprised 6% of the population but held 18% of the state jobs. In spite of the fact that they were at 300% of parity and were no longer eligible for AA relief, the strongest AA assistance was continuously directed at them.

                    When people in state government questioned this imbalance and asked why AA rules were not being followed, instead of getting a reasoned explanation, more often than not they were simply dismissed as being racists for even questioning the matter. I suspect this was the straw that broke the camel's back because in the 1990s, the citizens of California went to the polls and voted to abolish Affirmative Action.

                    So yes, SemiMBA, Affirmative Action can and has hurt law enforcement. While it was well intentioned in its inception, it wound up being nothing more than about power and politics. Probably the only positive things that came out of it is the test validation process that ensures job exam questions have a valid relationship to the position you are seeking, that the same questions are asked of all applicants and that all applicants are judged by the same criteria. Other than that, its just smoke and mirrors.
                    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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                    • #11
                      When I think of lowering the standards, I can't forget when I worked the LA County Jail prior to retirement, there was a Deputy that was a Dwarf, he was all of 4-8'' and was constantly ridiculed by the inmates. I had a female Deputy that worked for me that was 4' 9'' and weighed 84 pounds.

                      If you could walk and chew gum at the same time and you were a minority the LASD would hire you. In my opinion the standards are a disgrace from when I got hired 37 years ago.
                      Retired LASD

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Shoki
                        So let's say that the department has five positions to fill desperately, the first two have no drug use at all, but the next three on the list had tried marijuana once two or more years ago. Should the department just wait and hope that applicants with no drug use come along the next time?
                        It will depend on the DQ criteria for that agency. If their drug usage meets the criteria for DQ, their name will be removed from the list and they will no longer be a part of the hiring process. The people below them will then move up in rank on the list accordingly.

                        However, if their drug usage does not meet the DQ criteria, their name will remain on the list and they will be hired in order of their rank (score), except as allowed under the rule of three (which most California agencies utilize).

                        If you are not familiar with the rule of three, it means the department can fill a vacancy with anyone from the top three ranks on the list (1, 2 or 3). Let's say they pick number 2. The top three positions on the list are now 1, 3 & 4 and the next position must be filled by one of them. Lets say they pick number 4 this time. This means the next slot must be filled by whoever is in ranks 1, 3 or 5. It continues that way until the list is exhausted.
                        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                          There's something everyone forgets about affirmative action. It was never intended to discriminate, or give preference in hiring based on gender or race. Instead, it was intended to achieve ethnic and gender parity in the work force by leveling the playing field in hiring and giving everyone a chance to compete on an equal footing.
                          While I agree that originally, it was never INTENDED to discriminate, that is a real repercussion of AA. And by PREDETERMINING a certain outcome that is artificial - gender/ethnic parity, discrimination is exactly what is created.

                          For one example, how can one pretend to talk about nondiscrimination and parity (with an real seriousness) when talking about physical abilities (PT tests)??????
                          Space for rent .........

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SemiMBA
                            IMHO – Affirmative action did not hurt law enforcement. It forced departments to hire women and minorities where it did not exist in the past.
                            Let me get your opinion on this:

                            1) A certain large city agency claims it needs to hire alot more officers because the force is shrinking.

                            2) Same agency has alot of people from a certain race that have passed the hiring process and are awaiting an invite to the academy. Some of these people wait years for the invite.

                            3) Same agency with the manpower shortfall will only hold academy classes once a certain class makeup is acheived.

                            Is this fictional agency doing a service to the people they serve?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by scratched13 View Post
                              While I agree that originally, it was never INTENDED to discriminate, that is a real repercussion of AA. And by PREDETERMINING a certain outcome that is artificial - gender/ethnic parity, discrimination is exactly what is created.

                              For one example, how can one pretend to talk about nondiscrimination and parity (with an real seriousness) when talking about physical abilities (PT tests)??????
                              I agree with you completely. The system was prostituted to the point that it became the very thing it was trying to prevent. That's why the people of California voted by an overwhelming majority to abolish it.
                              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                              Comment

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