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December 15, 2011
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Lance Eldridge All Law Enforcement is Local
with Lance Eldridge

Advantages and disadvantages of a college degree

Some studies have concluded that the advantage of a college-degreed officer goes beyond the theoretical and intangible ideals of “quality” and “professionalism.” For example, reportedly more able to exercise judicious and mature discretion, college graduates tend to be less of a liability for their departments. Officers with a bachelor’s degree reportedly:

have fewer citizen complaints
choose options short of an arrest to resolve problems
are less authoritarian
are more ethical
have fewer disciplinary problems compared to their high school graduate counterparts

What are the reported disadvantages of a bachelor’s degree?

While some studies conclude that a high school education is sufficient for a professional police force, others go one step further and maintain that college-educated officers:

are more likely to become frustrated with their work
likely to become frustrated with restrictions imposed by supervisors
may believe they have limited opportunities for advancement
place “less value on obedience to supervisors and are less satisfied with their careers”

The result of these negative aspects could translate into problems of personnel turnover.


About the author

Retiring after nearly 22 years of active duty in the Army, Lance Eldridge worked as the director of a law enforcement training academy and served as a rural patrol deputy and patrol officer in Colorado. While in the military, he held leadership positions in a variety of organizations and has written extensively about US military strategy, operations, and history. He is a graduate of the US Army's Command and General Staff College and the Norwegian Staff College. He holds a Masters Degree in History and a Masters Degree in Strategic Intelligence. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in national security strategy, European regional security, US history, and terrorism. He now works in northern Virginia.

Contact Lance Eldridge.





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