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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77890 Find in a Library
Title: Structural and Attitudinal Barriers to Higher Education Requirements for Police Officers
Author(s): R P Schick
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 37
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Findings are reported from a study that examined structural and attitudinal barriers to higher education requirements for police officers.
Abstract: The study involved a literature review and a survey of 51 police and sheriff chief executives constituting a random sample of all urban jurisdictions over 50,000. Questionnaires were mailed in July 1977, followed by an 82 percent response. The literature review showed no studies which explicitly identified structural barriers to the implementation of police higher education policies. Of the departments represented in the survey responses, 83 percent required only high school graduation or a General Equivalency Degree for entry-level sworn police officers. One jurisdiction required less than these standards. Three jurisdictions required 1 to 2 years of college; two required an associate degree; and one required 1 to 3 years of college. Nine of the 42 responding jurisdictions required college for either entry or promotion. Opposition to college requirements, which was cited by less than half of the chief executive respondents, was attributed to rank and file officers, their union and association leadership, and police supervisors. The most pervasive argument against college requirements was that they had not been shown to be job-related. This reason was cited both by those opposing college requirements on general grounds and proponents of minority group employment who argued that the impact of college education requirements was discriminatory. Regarding the latter position, constitutional employment law requires that any employee selection criteria must be clearly job-related. Findings indicate that empirical studies must validate the job-relatedness of college education requirements before their implementation will be wide scale. The case for college requirements for higher level positions is likely to be stronger in specific circumstances. Tabular data and 11 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Higher education; Personnel minimum standards; Personnel selection; Police personnel; Policy analysis; Surveys
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