Columbia Police Department lowers officer education requirement

2 years 1 month 6 days 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
With the holiday season here, the Community Foundation of Central Missouri is spearheading a donation initiative through a website called... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 6:59:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in Top Stories
HOLTS SUMMIT - Joe Baker has portrayed the role of Santa Claus in mid-Missouri for the last 30 years. ... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 6:46:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Sheriff's Department completed a week-long training program on Friday, cumulating with a role-playing exercise to... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 5:05:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in News
MID-MISSOURI - A winter storm is expected to bring snow and ice accumulation to Missouri followed by frigid temperatures. This... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 4:22:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in Weather
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department has a new chief. City Manager John Glascock says Andy Woody will be taking... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 3:50:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Former Missouri football coach Barry Odom is heading to Arkansas. New Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman confirmed... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 3:19:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia psychologist, Kurt Bumby, 50, is charged with two counts of statutory sodomy in Boone County and two... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 3:18:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in News
FULTON - Although legally blind, Fulton Special Olympics tennis player Jesse competes with enthusiasm in a high demanding sport for... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 2:21:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A proposed plan to expand the Jefferson City National Cemetery across the street and move a park... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 2:15:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in News
BOONVILLE - Shovels and salt will likely be in higher demand at local hardware stores after a forecasted weekend snow... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 12:55:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in News
WENTZVILLE, Mo. (AP) — General Motors plans to invest $1.5 billion in truck production at a suburban St. Louis plant.... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 12:24:00 PM CST December 13, 2019 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY- A 71-year-old woman was killed last night after her car struck a tree, according to the Missouri State... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 11:35:00 AM CST December 13, 2019 in News
COOPER COUNTY - A company from Illinois was brought in for the continued search for the body of Mengqi Ji... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 11:11:00 AM CST December 13, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA- Columbia police arrested one man Thursday in connection with the December 9 homicide at Welcome Inn. According to... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 9:51:00 AM CST December 13, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON, D.C.- The House Judiciary Committee has approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The charges now go... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 9:27:00 AM CST December 13, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The magic tree is a bit more magical on Friday. The Columbia tradition is being tailor-made for... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 3:50:00 AM CST December 13, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - School and city officials predict upwards of 10,000 people will visit Columbia this weekend for graduation ceremonies at... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 13 2019 Dec 13, 2019 Friday, December 13, 2019 3:27:00 AM CST December 13, 2019 in News
COOPER COUNTY - Crews searching for missing woman Mengqi Ji Elledge have cleared debris obstructing the search area and have... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, December 12 2019 Dec 12, 2019 Thursday, December 12, 2019 7:28:00 PM CST December 12, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 32°
9am 33°
10am 32°
11am 33°
12pm 34°