A common assumption is that a college degree makes better cops. Well, you might be surprised to learn that is not necessarily the case. In a recent study, scholars found that better educated cops don’t really like their supervisors, don’t like “community policing,” and don’t really like the job.
Depending on which department you work at, a new recruit may find herself sitting in a patrol car at 3:00am on some lonely corner or he may find himself doing things that are, well, nonsensical. Why? Simple: Police departments are quasi-military organizations which simply means there is a rank structure and a chain of command. A college degree puts you squarely at the same level as someone who was just hired from JimmyJohns.
Police departments are also, to varying degrees, political. Some are better insulated from external political forces than are others. This is sometimes good and sometimes not so good. I once consulted for a medium size police department. It had the full support of the local council. However, the Chief was always...and I mean always....out at the golf course. This left the management to the mid-level officers and lets just say that they demand absolute loyalty. No discussion, no dissent, nada. Iron clad. A college grad wouldn’t find that place very welcoming or accommodating.
On the flip side, I’ve watch as the Cincinnati Police Department--a department that was leading the country in tactics and adaptability--has been wrecked by the influence of external politics and the hiring of a chief that was simply disastrous. I’m sure they can recover because they have excellent officers but it will take years.
Anyway, policing is NOT what you see on TV and if you are the new person, don’t expect to be the person interviewing the serial killer. Instead expect to work your shift and prove yourself......and expect to be bored, lonely, upset, and sometimes demoralized. Chasing the bad guys is the easy part. Dealing with the internal politics is not.
See below: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150205111619.htm
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi
Professors of Crime and Criminology