The New Orleans Police Department has eliminated its college education requirements in order to increase manpower.
According to WDSU, Monday morning the Civil Service Commission approved Chief Michael Harrison’s request to eliminate the 60 hour college credit requirement. Harrison felt that is was hindering the hiring process by limiting the application pool.
Last year alone, the department had to turn away around 1,000 applicants because they did not meet the standard. Harrison said 82% of police departments across the country do not have a 60 hour college requirement.
“Only three percent of our applicants make it even with college degrees and we’re turning away good people without even giving them an opportunity to present themselves as qualified. They have integrity, character and the desire to do a good job but we’re turning them away because they can’t even get through the application process,” said Harrison.
Harrison said that police officers have several opportunities to complete their college education while with the force. The department has incentive programs and many of the local universities offer reduced tuition to law enforcement.
“I myself entered the department without having 60 hours of college. But since joining the force I’ve taken advantage of NOPD incentive programs to earn both a bachelors and a master’s degree,” he said.
WDSU reported that many people feel getting rid of the college requirement will lower standards.
“We need an educated person there with some college credit with some analytical thinking and this would help them before they exercise the unfortunate act of taking a human life,” said Randolph Scott, a resident of New Orleans. He added he feels a good quality education will help an officer make good decisions when under stress.
“We feel as though it’s critical that you get the best qualified citizen to become a police officer and that’s why it is critical education is key in that process,” he said.