The Value of Higher Education for Police Officers

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The debate on the value of higher education for police officers continues to be one of the most persistent and pervasive issues in policing. Although there are several different interpretations of what constitutes a professional police officer there appears to be a consensus about the need for professionalism in policing. Researchers have attempted to measure performance through such variables as officer attitude, discretion, ethics, cynicism, decision-making, and use of deadly force. Despite the different measures of performance used, several studies have reported a positive relationship between educations and "job performance" found that college-educated officers consistently received higher performance ratings from supervisors. College education police officers have a positive effect on academy performance and career advancement and have a positive relationship between educational levels and officer promotions. College-educated officers tend to have better peer relationships than non-college-educated officers do are likelier to take a leadership role in the organization, and college-educated officers tend to be more flexible, be less dogmatic and less authoritarian. College-educated officers take fewer leave days, receive fewer injuries, have less injury time, have lower rates of absenteeism, use fewer sick days, and are involved in fewer traffic accidents than non-college-educated. These benefits are all important in citizen-officer interaction ability to communicate, to be responsive to others, and to exercise benevolent leadership, ability to analyze situations, to exercise discretion independently, and to make judicious decisions. Strong moral character, which reflects a sense of conscience and the qualities of honesty, reliability, and tolerance, a positive relationship between higher education and fewer citizen complaints, fewer disciplinary actions against officers, and fewer allegations of excessive force. Citizen complaints and departmental...
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