Posts Tagged ‘law enforcement’

Working in the criminal justice field hasn’t always been a high-skill occupation. In fact, early police forces were generally comprised of minimally trained volunteers or, worse yet, reluctant community members drafted to patrol the city’s streets.

The same was true of early correctional officers, or guards as they were called, who relied more on brute strength, personal toughness, and a certain amount of violence to get their work done than on any other skill set.

The work was not only dangerous and thankless in many respects, it was much less regulated, less public, and far less technical than it is today.

Modern criminal justice practitioners, by comparison, are anything but low skilled. The rise of technology in nearly all fields has contributed to a need for better educated and more highly skilled individuals who can take on today’s challenges.

Modern-day police officers, for example, carry a tremendous amount of technology with them while doing their jobs. Body cameras, firearms, tasers, pepper spray, communication gear, not to mention all of the technology carried in modern squad cars, have all become standard.

Likewise, correctional officers carry many of the same technologies, and also operate complex security systems, computerized inmate tracking programs, and other related technologies as part of their work.

But, it’s not just technology that’s driving the need for better education and skills – it’s also the need for strong interpersonal communication abilities, knowledge of research and its implications, and the ability to effectively navigate complex social issues that also drives the need.

According to an information paper by the Police Association for College Education, requiring college degrees for police officers has long been a matter of professionalizing the field:

Some 68 years ago Chief August Vollmer, the Dean of American Policing, called for mandatory college education for police officers. As society has become more complex, basic police qualifications have not maintained the same pace. If police officers are to be considered a profession in their own right, then a college education, the hallmark of a profession, must be mandated to better serve society. Departments requiring college degrees for officers have increased – not decreased – minority hiring. Establishing an associate’s degree requirement is a good start towards ultimately achieving the recommendation of several national commissions and the Federal Courts of a bachelor’s degree standard.

The same is true in other criminal justice fields, in which the ability to understand and use research has taken on increased importance. Probation and parole officers, for example, are using complex assessment instruments – such as the LSI-R, the Static-99, and the ASUDS – to evaluate offender risks and needs as part of case planning and supervision.

Likewise, those who work with juvenile offenders are using new tools, like the YLSI, to assess the unique needs that younger individuals have for intervention and rehabilitation.

Portland State University Online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice

As a result, more police and correctional departments have been requiring a college degree of their applicants. But, even in jurisdictions that don’t require a college degree, many who apply do have some type of degree, which places those with less education at a distinct disadvantage.

I’ve long argued for higher standards for criminal justice practitioners, and a solid education is the first step in the continued professionalizing of the field and everyone who works in it.

If you’re interested in working in criminal justice, start by exploring education options and selecting a program that can help you meet your goals.

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Happy Friday, everyone. Thanks for the comments, likes, shares, follows and e-mails this week. I really appreciated each and every one!

This week’s vids feature a piece of police tech that’s frequently in the news these days – tasers.  In one recent case, for example, an employee of a tax preparation company – who was dressed as the Statute of Liberty – was reportedly tased by officers after he allegedly resisted arrest.

The irony of that particular incident is almost too much to take, but tasers have definitely become a staple of police work in many departments. According to some industry-sponsored research, this has resulted in reduced legal liability, fewer officer and suspect injuries, as well as fewer worker’s comp claims. A counter-argument by the ACLU, however, has been that tasers are not less-than-lethal, as manufacturers and supporters claim, and instead are responsible for a number of deaths nationwide.

Controversy aside, the proliferation of tasers among law enforcement and security agencies has resulted in a variety of training standards, many of which require that officers experience being tased before actually carrying and using the weapon.

And, that gets us to the vids themselves. Enjoy!

In this first video, one officer’s “friends” decide to play a game of “tase the unsuspecting assistant.”


This second vid wins the “loudest scream” award.


And, here’s how the training pays off during an actual incident.


Have a great weekend!