Columbia Police Department lowers officer education requirement

2 years 8 months 3 weeks ago Monday, November 06 2017 Nov 6, 2017 Monday, November 06, 2017 8:07:00 PM CST November 06, 2017 in News
By: Joe Rossetti, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Police union leaders and city officials are divided over the recent decision to lower the education requirement for officers in the Columbia Police Department.

The executive director of the Columbia Police Officers' Association said a college education, or in most cases the lack thereof, often poses a number of problems for local police officers.

"The education requirement has, in the past, has been something that has kept applicants from being eligible, so that should help recruiting," Dale Roberts said. 

The education requirement is one of many factors Roberts said have contributed to an understaffed department.

Third Ward Council Member Karl Skala said, of the 173 total positions in the police department, 12-15 are unfilled at any given time. 

"The hiring environment for police officers is a very difficult one these days," Skala said. 

The CPD lowered its education requirement for prospective police officers in August. Now, applicants only need to have a high school education.  

"The nature of the hiring environment for public safety officers is such, that in order for us to fulfill the vacancies, or to fill the vacancies that we have chronically had throughout the year, it may be necessary to lower the standard," Skala said. 

Roberts said he doesn't necessarily have an issue with the lowered requirement. 

"Just because you have a college degree, doesn't necessarily mean that you have those other enhanced abilities," he said. "And we know we have plenty of applicants who have prior military experience who have gained that same skill."

There are other ways to obtain practical skills, he said. 

"Certainly, several years in the military really helps a person to think clearly and solve problems," Roberts said. "It gives one a certain level of maturity. So, as I said, a college degree is not the only way to get there." 

Skala said the lower education requirement may not help all applicants. 

"Folks need to understand that these folks will have the least advantage should they not have some of these other requirements like college education, some criminal justice education or they're a veteran." 

Skala said all other requirements are still in place. 

Although he said he doesn't necessarily agree with the lower education requirement, Skala said it must be done to fill the positions. 

"I would prefer to have all of our police officers have college degrees, because these days on the street, it means that you almost have to be a psychologist as well as a commissioned police officer," Skala said.

He said, however, there "is no choice at this point," and lowering the standard is the pragmatic thing to do.

"That's what people are demanding, and that's what we need to do," Skala said.  

More News

Grid
List
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 6:09:00 AM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - As school is set to resume in a few weeks, some parents are concerned with the safety of... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 4:45:00 AM CDT August 04, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools Board of Education is considering the possibility of moving the start of school to after... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 10:46:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — From masks to hand sanitizer stations to new poll workers, the primary election Tuesday will look different... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 8:12:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —Excellence, loyalty and perseverance are the principles Dr. Gus T. Ridgel lived by, according to his daughter Betty Bolden.... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 5:52:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. ... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 5:30:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Central Pantry, which serves Boone County residents, is reducing its hours in order to continue serving people in... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 4:54:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
FAYETTE – Central Methodist University will reopen for the fall semester — with a long list of safety protocols. ... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 4:54:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
NEW YORK (AP) — Seven St. Louis Cardinals players and six staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, causing Major... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 3:58:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — The Columbia Parks and Recreation department has canceled the Heritage Festival and Craft Show, according to a news... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 2:29:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 2:06:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - City Manager John Glascock finalized an authorization of an ordinance to bring almost $1.8 million dollars to Boone... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Beef prices are slowly recovering after a dip from when beef processing plants were closed due to COVD-19,... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 Monday, August 03, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT August 03, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - As summer school ends in the capital city, United Way of Central Missouri starts its Food 4... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, August 02 2020 Aug 2, 2020 Sunday, August 02, 2020 5:24:00 PM CDT August 02, 2020 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A baby elephant died several weeks after it was born at the St. Louis Zoo. ... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, August 02 2020 Aug 2, 2020 Sunday, August 02, 2020 3:37:55 PM CDT August 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - On Sunday, Battle High School students finally got to walk across the stage. The graduations were... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, August 02 2020 Aug 2, 2020 Sunday, August 02, 2020 2:54:00 PM CDT August 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Missourians will vote on August 4 on whether or not to pass Amendment 2. If passed, the amendment... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, August 02 2020 Aug 2, 2020 Sunday, August 02, 2020 2:50:00 PM CDT August 02, 2020 in Target 8
COLUMBIA - Primary election day is this Tuesday, August 4, and Boone County Government will be open for business as... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, August 02 2020 Aug 2, 2020 Sunday, August 02, 2020 2:32:00 PM CDT August 02, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 66°
10am 67°
11am 69°
12pm 70°
1pm 72°