Houston police officers hoping to move up in the ranks will no longer be able to count credit hours for “life experience” from West Virginia’s Mountain States University, after questions were raised about the number of credits officers were claiming, the Houston Chronicle reports. Dozens of officers had used the credits to beef up their educational resumes and apply for promotions. Houston City Attorney David Feldman became concerned that officers were claiming too many credit hours that were based upon “life experience,” or credit received through routine police training that officers must complete every year. “It wasn’t for courses taken at the university but credit awarded for police training,” Feldman said.
The credit hours are important because they are a requirement for officers who want to take exams to achieve promotions. Officer Ray Hunt, police union president, said the life experience credits are given for classes taken at the Houston Police Academy as part of each officer’s required 40 hours of annual training. These classes cover a variety of subjects, including accident reconstruction, cultural diversity, post-traumatic stress disorder and blood spatter. “This is not saying that I’m 45 years old, and they’re giving me credit for being alive,” Hunt said. “They’re giving credit for the time you spend at the academy and the time you spend every year in in-service (training).”