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Taylor Olsen
CJ1010
Cupello
4/9/15
Criminal Justice:
Does College Benefit Law Enforcement?

Education is the future, not merely within the circles of academics, but throughout the
entire world. For over forty years, the effects of an extended education in correlation to police
officer performance and attitude has been under examination to determine as to whether or not
aforementioned education is beneficial to law enforcement around the world in regards to
performance and psychological benefits. Researched subjects that will be examined within this
text are how an extended education impacts workplace behavior, overall professionalism and
performance. All information from here on is of scholarly revision and refutation for further
inspection may be found under references on the last page of this document.
Behavior within any professional career is a point of concern. However, not many other
professions acquire such a scrutiny from the public as law enforcement does. Police personnel in
the USA were initially reluctant to embrace the idea that a college education adds value to the
training of police officers (Regoli, 1976), (Paterson, 2011, p. 288). From a historical stand point
the reluctance of law enforcement to freely accept this possibility may stem from the turbulent
years that had passed and the possibility of more turbulence to come. Much of what we know
now has shown that law officers who pursue an extended education have shown improved

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attitudes towards their occupation, their outlook on problem minorities within their jurisdiction,
and an overall sense of continued accomplishment procured from continued learning.
It can be observed that many individuals who work have developed a certain emotional
behavior or attitude towards their profession, colleagues and the individuals their career performs
services for. Regolis (1976) research on education and law enforcement has shown a
minimalizing response of cynicism on the job in police officers who were continuing their
education (p. 340345). Increased levels of education have also shown that the higher the
education level of the officer, the more flexible that officers value systems became (Guller,
1972). This was explicitly noted in Patersons (2011) discourse In particular, this evidence
pointed to improved attitudes towards minority groups (Parker et al., 1976) (p. 288) This
improvement in attitude has also contributed to both officer performance on the job and their
professionalism.
Many of the jobs that individuals work day to day require a certain level of
professionalism, some perhaps more than others. Law enforcement officers are often held to a
higher standard of professionalism as police officers in specific are the visible representation of
law on the streets. During a pilot study of students from Higher Police School in Szczytno,
comprehensive, self-development, including lifelong learning and development of interests,
helps with professional duties. (Kordaczuk-Was & Sosnowski, 2011, p. 320). Of the 194
students attending the school, 39 students were selected randomly to participate in a pilot study,
four declined. Findings research shows that about half of the participating officers (46%)
indicated that the pursuit of broad development helps to adjust to changes taking place in the
social and professional environment (Kordaczuk-Was & Sosnowski, 2011, p. 320).

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Further inspection of the findings of the 2011 study have shown that a strong majority of
the officers surveyed (74%) expressed readiness to constantly improve their professional
qualifications (Kordaczuk-Was & Sosnowski, 2011, p. 320).

Knowledge is an excellent means

to indicate professionalism, and a readiness to hone ones self to a higher caliber reflects highly
upon the individual both professionally and individually. However, findings have also shown
that officers who attended extracurricular education were found to maintain a less authoritarian
attitude than their peers, and were observed to find more non-coercive solutions when presented
with potentially violent situations. Within Patersons (2011) research evidence in the article
pointed towards the benefits for the public, police officers and the police institution in improving
police professionalism, accountability and legitimacy through collaborative relationships
between the police and higher education (p. 295).
Some of an officers performance is based on academic knowledge that is procured
through their time in POST, and other beneficial professional skill sets are honed in the
classroom. Revaluation of previous research with more recent findings have shown that police
officers who have extended educations more frequently hold better relationships with locals and
residents within their jurisdiction. As noted from Patersons (2011) research, universities are in
the best position to provide education in areas such as learning strategies, theories of community,
diversity and the complexities of crime causation as well as enhancing police legitimacy through
the accreditation of police training and education (p. 294). Additionally it has been found that
police officers who also have been through colleges exhibit more proficient problem solving
skills, as well as heightened problem solving abilities (Paterson, 2011, p. 292-293).
Upon complete revision of information that has been presented it can with confidence say
that a college education among police officers may be deemed beneficial to the overall

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professionalism, performance, and behavior of officers while on and off duty. Exhibited research
found that these areas were highly relevant to the overall satisfaction of work for officers as
noted within the research sections of Kordaczuk-Was & Sosnowskis 2011 research paper titled
Police in-service training and self-education in Poland. And the numerously mentioned
research of C. Patersons 2011 research findings of previous and modern educational benefits.
Knowing that education is helpful it begs to question, what level of education is most beneficial
to officers, and would an education level be something to consider adjusting pay and education
requirements?
It would be within my personal opinion that police officers should continue to acquire an
additional education upon completion of training; however, promotion of rank should take
education into consideration along with the individuals work related experiences as well, but it
would be within reason to say that those with greater work force experience and education
should more often be considered more seriously for positions that hold more responsibilities.
These positions being Sergeants, lieutenants and Chiefs of Police should have a better
understanding of some subjects than a patrol officer might need to know. Under current
circumstances that education is becoming more expensive, it wouldnt be without reason that an
individuals pay should be adjusted to meet that individuals acquired education. Since

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References
Guller, I. (1972). Higher education and policemen: Attitudinal differences between freshman and
senior police college students. The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science,
63(3), 396401
Kordaczuk-Ws, M., & Sosnowski, S. (2011). Police in-service training and self-education in
Poland. Police Practice & Research, 12(4), 317-324. doi:10.1080/15614263.2011.563967
Parker, L. Donnelly, M. Gerwitz, D. Marcus, J., & Kowalewski, V. (1976). Higher education: Its
impact on police attitudes. The Police Chief, 43(7), 3335
Paterson, C. (2011). Adding value? A review of the international literature on the role of higher
education in police training and education. Police Practice & Research, 12(4), 286-297.
doi:10.1080/15614263.2011.563969
Regoli, R.M. (1976). The effects of college education on the maintenance of police cynicism.
Journal of Police Science and Administration, 4, 340345