Police Reform Petition

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The purpose of this petition is to:

States should Require that police officers obtain a four-year college degree before entering the force.

In light of recent events and previous events involving the murders of civilians at the hands of law enforcement officers, it is apparent that change is in order. Many people do not feel safe when they are approached by police officers and many police officers feel threatened when they are in the presence of civilians, particularly if they are members of a different race. This is a tremendous problem and the best solution is to require law enforcement officers to obtain a four year college degree before entering the force.

Police officers hold a great honor and responsibility in our communities. They are responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining peace in all of our cities and towns. They are responsible for protecting the lives and well-being of citizens, but often times do not know a whole lot about these citizens. These said police officers that are here to protect and serve all of us cannot be ignorant of the history and culture of those that they serve and protect. Ignorance causes fear, and fear can cause prejudice, discrimination, and even hate.

Currently, less that half of law enforcement officers have a four-year college degree. This is despite the fact that it has been proven that police officers with college degrees have better skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and overall logic. It has also been proven in numerous studies that police officers with college degrees are less likely to use force and more likely to use their skills to resolve issues and de-escalate volatile situations. A college education will provide them with more experience with people from diverse backgrounds, races, and ethnicities. Colleges and universities have many opportunities for prospective police officers to gain knowledge and social awareness through programs like Study Abroad (traveling to different countries to take classes), student groups, and classes in sociology, anthropology, history, political science, and many other social sciences. Police officers will be equipped with more experience, maturity, and social consciousness.

  • The current requirements to become a police officer currently are:
  • A high school diploma (some law enforcement agencies require a year or 2 of college)
  • Valid drivers license
  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Clean Record
  • Age of 21 or older (some are hired right out of high school)
  • Attendance of a Police Academy

Officers receive training in police academies for only 3 to 4 months. They take classes in civil rights, state and local laws, constitutional law, incident reporting, crime investigation, and criminal psychology. They receive training in areas such as fire-arm use, first-aid, emergency response, and traffic control. Before graduating they must take a series of examinations, including a physical fitness test and psychiatric evaluation. While this training is useful, it is very minimal. Most police officers do not have adequate social knowledge and skills and many do not even understand the law.

According to a 2006 report by USA Today, “In an analysis of disciplinary cases against Florida cops from 1997 to 2002, the International Association of Chiefs of Police found that officers with only high school educations were the subjects of 75% of all disciplinary actions. Officers with four-year degrees accounted for 11% of such actions.”

 

We would like these requirements and/or recommendations to be implemented by the states and not the federal government, working with local police forces to implement this. Too many civilians have been killed needlessly by police officers who lack in skill, awareness, and competence. Law enforcement is an extremely vital part of our communities and we need it to be the best. It is time for a change. In order for this change to happen, you have to demand it. If the conditions of this reform are met, it will not only save the lives of civilians, it will save the lives of police officers, making our communities safer.



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