Sacramento, CA — Ever wonder why cops yell “quit resisting” as they beat a person who’s not resisting? Or why they shoot people who pose no threat? Maybe the answer is right in front of us. Many folks who are given authorization to use deadly force and authority to kidnap and cage citizens — aren’t the sharpest tools in the chest. One would think that giving someone so much authority should come with testing their intelligence for competence. However, one would be wrong. But thanks to an initiative from California organizations encompassing both police chiefs and rank-and-file officers, that could all soon be changing.
The group of top cops has proposed legislation that would raise the bar for cops leading to an increase in the standards of policing as well as increasing diversity.
As the Times Herald Online reports, prospective officers should have to complete college classes that the groups said would prepare them “to meet the expectations of a modern police force,” including courses on mental health, social services, psychology and communication.
The Peace Officers Research Association of California’s president, Brian Marvel told the Herald that there needs to be a cultural shift not only with how police officers are hired and trained but how the public views them.
Amazingly enough, this idea is embraced by the police unions as well. The goal is to recruit and train officers so they are “in the best possible position to serve their communities in the way their communities want to be served,” said Eric Nunez, president of California Police Chiefs Association.
“The 685 hours required by academy training is woefully inadequate given the breadth of duties and expectations placed on officers today,” he said. Some professions require twice as many hours of training as the police academy, he said, yet those professions aren’t making arrests and life-and-death decisions.
We agree and have reported this before.
In an analysis conducted by TFTP in 2014, we found that hairstylists in nearly every state are required to have significantly more training than men and women who are given a badge and a gun and sent out into our neighborhoods. Below are just a few examples.
New York has one of the lowest requirements in order to become a licensed cosmetologist. However, it is still 36 % more required training than a cop must undergo, coming in at 1000 hours.
North Carolina police must complete the Basic Law enforcement Training (BLET) Curriculum which consists of a mere 620 hours.
The average North Carolina hairstylist is required to complete 2.4 times more training, 1500 hours, and they will never be tasked with serving a no-knock warrant or shaking down potential drug dealers.
In Chicago, Illinois, their boys in blue have one of the highest requirements for hours completed to become a cop and it comes in at 1000 hours.
Illinois hairdressers are still required to complete 500 more hours than police.
New Mexico, whose track record over the last several years has sparked a special investigation by the Justice Department, ironically lowered their required amount of training to be a police officer in 2014.
The state mandate for basic police training was slashed by more than 25 percent, from 22 weeks to 16 weeks to total 650 hours.
According to the proposal, the college classes would augment the training police already receive. According to the police groups, this would drastically reduce problem cops as the group cited studies that officers who lacked a college education accounted for three-fourths of disciplinary actions; that officers with college degrees acted as if they had the same experience as 10-year veterans; and that college graduates are less likely to use force.
College education coupled with a cultural shift inside departments could prove to be revolutionary in policing. After all, an educated person would have a hard time justifying their job if it largely consisted of kicking in doors in the middle of the night to kidnap people suspected of possessing a plant that has never killed anyone.
What’s more, a college education helps officers become better at identifying quality information and scientific evidence. This in turn better enables them to more rigorously and regularly evaluate policies and practices adopted by their departments.
For example, many departments employ de-escalation tactics that aim to reduce use of force. A critical step in knowing whether an approach is achieving its intended goal is evaluating its impact. Officers who have an understanding of scientific methods, as taught in college, are better positioned to adjust their department’s policies.
Talk of increased education for police officers is highly welcome as it is currently the opposite of what departments do now.
As TFTP reported, the court has established that police departments can refuse to higher people — if they are too smart. The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test is a popular group intelligence test used to assess the aptitude of prospective employees for learning and problem-solving in a range of occupations. Throughout both the U.S. and Canada, many police forces require candidates to take this test as one of the qualifications prior to being hired.
The standard range of scores applied for police officers is a score between 20 and 27. According to The average score nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104, or just a little above average. A perfect score on the Wonderlic is a 50.
On March 16, 1996 Robert Jordan from Connecticut, and 500 others underwent a written screening process which included the Wonderlic Test, conducted by the Law Enforcement Council of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. (“LEC”), a coalition of fourteen cities and towns, in order to apply for a position as a police officer.
Several months later Jordan learned that the city of New London started interviewing candidates. After not hearing from them, Jordan inquired as to why he was passed over. Jordan eventually learned from assistant city manager Keith Harrigan that he would not be interviewed because he “didn’t fit the profile.”
Thinking it was obviously age discrimination because he was 46 at the time, Jordan filed an administrative complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The response that he received was completely out of left field. The city responded that it removed Jordan from consideration because he scored a 33 on the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, and that to prevent frequent job turnover caused by hiring overqualified applicants the city only interviewed candidates who scored between 20 and 27.
The city of New London claims that “People within certain ranges achieve a degree of job satisfaction and are likely to be happy and therefore stay on the job.” They apparently believed that Jordan was too smart to be happy being a cop.
Knowing that this ability to discriminate against intelligence in police departments exists tends to put ‘Police State USA’ in perspective. In the past decade we’ve seen heavily militarized actions against non-violent protesters. We’ve even seen school districts accepting MRAPs! And we’ve watched from the sidelines as Mayberry transformed to Martial Law.
A smart person does not create a domestic standing army and call it freedom.
A smart person does not deliberately tear gas journalists. A smart person does not point a rifle at an innocent person and tell them that they are going to kill him. A smart person does not severely beat a person with down syndrome because he sees a bulge in his pants, which is actually a colostomy bag. A smart person does not continuously shoot at an unarmed man who posed zero threat and whose arms are in the air.
If more people knew this information you could rest assured that they would try and reform their police departments. No one wants their police officers to be unintelligent, right?
Sadly, until this proposal was made in California, that is exactly what’s been happening. In fact, TFTP reported that in Kentucky, not only do you not need a college degree to be a cop, but in 2017, they lowered the bar for state troopers so low that they are no longer required to even graduate high school.
To be entirely fair, some states already do require college courses for cops like Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey and North Dakota who require a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree, yet those cops are still incredibly violent. Also, there are likely plenty of good cops out there who haven’t gone to college or finished high school.
However, the college requirement is one of many steps needed to help reform policing. But the first and most drastic and effective step to take needs to be ending the war on drugs, immediately.
This would aid in the cultural shift needed to reform policing in America by removing the monetary and often sadistic incentives dangled in front of law enforcement’s face like a carrot, that entices them to rob, kidnap, and even sodomize people to “protect” society from an arbitrary substance deemed illegal by the state.