Not everyone likes Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer’s idea of lowering the educational requirements to be a cop, including some members of her community advisory council, says The Oregonian. Sizer may require only a high school diploma or GED for entry-level officers, hoping to expand the pool of applicants and attract more minorities. Supporters of the idea say life skills and street smarts are more important than a college education. Sizer is struggling to attract new officers, partly because of the rising cost of a college degree.
“To not require college education is absolutely ludicrous to me,” said T.J. Browning, a member of the Chief’s Forum, Sizer’s community advisory group. In 2001, former Chief Mark Kroeker lowered the four-year college degree requirement to the current standard: an associates degree, 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of college courses. Former Chief Charles Moose had set the four-year college degree standard in 1996, arguing that the complexities of the job demanded more education. Nationally, about a third of police departments had some type of college requirement in 2003, three times as many as in 1990, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Only 1 percent required a four-year college degree in 2003, and 9 percent required a two-year degree, said the bureau’s Brian Reaves.