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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76506 Find in a Library
Title: Current Issues in Criminal Justice Education - Aftermath of the Sherman Report
Author(s): R T Dull
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 35
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper presents various opinions on criminal justice education programs that responded to the 1978 Sherman Report, an evaluation of higher police education conducted by the Police Foundation.
Abstract: A major issue confronting police education is that of liberal arts versus vocational curriculum. Proponents of the liberal arts approach argue that it teaches values of the democratic system and critical thinking processes needed in police work. Although the Sherman Report recommended the liberal arts model, many professionals feel that it is not appropriate for all students and that technical courses as well as practical field experience should be included in a criminal justice curriculum. The Sherman Report's emphasis on the police to the exclusion of other components of the criminal justice system has been widely criticized, as has its inconsistent position in refusing college credit for police academy training but awarding credit for police experience. With the national trend toward part-time education, the report's emphasis on full-time programs seems impractical. The most controversial recommendation was to terminate the 2-year degree criminal justice programs offered by community colleges. Many critics feel that the report's concept of the Renaissance police officer is both unrealistic and undesirable in view of the police occupation as a channel for working class mobility, the trend toward specialization, labor unionization, and diverse opportunities for obtaining higher education. The community college could also offer training for police paraprofessionals. Although most educators feel that a full-time faculty improves a program's quality, no empirical studies have determined that full-time faculty produce better learning than the part-time staff now widely used in many criminal justice programs. Other unresolved issues concerning criminal justice faculty include the value of academic credentials versus practical experience and the idea of retooling Ph.D's from other fields into criminal justice instructors. The report's recommendation that no one agency should accredit educational programs is equivalent to opposing accreditation. The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences' accreditation council should assume this necessary function. Approximately 50 references are appended.
Index Term(s): Criminal justice education; Critiques; Degree programs; Police academy; Police education; Professional in-service education
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