What kind of education do police officers receive? | KALW

What kind of education do police officers receive?

Jun 12, 2018

How are police trained, and what kind of education do they get? A 2014 study by the Journal of Criminal Justice Education found the more educated an officer was, the less likely they would use force during an encounter.

But none of the seven big city police departments studied required their officers have four year degrees. Why is that? What should police be learning before they hit the streets?

UC Davis historian Nidia Banuelos tries to answer that in her article entitled ‘Why top US universities have law schools but not police schools." She says the relationship between policing and academia has always been complicated. And the story starts in early 20th century Berkeley, when police chief August Vollmer wanted his force to be educated at UC.

"This idea it's often recycled, it's often brought up. And for some reason it doesn't always gain the kind of traction that we imagine it might. Because it's a very nice idea — it's packaged really well. It's like ok, here's the answer, the answer is more education."

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