Police Officers with Degrees: Is It Necessary? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/8/03

Police Officers with Degrees: Is It Necessary?

Some proposed new legislation has a few Lubbock city leaders on the resisting side of the law. That is because the new law, if passed, would require all police officers in Texas to have a college degree, and most city leaders agree the proposed law is a bad idea.

Finding a few good men and women for the force is already difficult. Right now, Lubbock has 310 officers on the force, about 22 short of full staff. "If this bill is proposed, city council will strongly oppose any mandates that make it more difficult to hire officers," says Mayor McDougal.

Mayor McDougal says the bill hasn't been filed yet. The group proposing it will have to file within the next two months. "I don't know that a college degree will make the quality of the officer better."

Opponents of the law perhaps are looking for more professionalism and feel that a more educated force increases the quality of protection. Lubbock Assistant Police Chief Tom Mann says the thought behind the idea is great, but he says in reality it's just not practical. "The applicant pool that we have to select from is so small already, and requiring the applicants to have a degree would really make it difficult for us to hire enough officers to fill the positions that we have," says Mann.

Even if a law were proposed, Mayor McDougal and Chief Mann say it likely won't go anywhere. They believe virtually every community in the state would emphatically oppose it.

The group proposing this law would have to file the bill no later than March 14th. NewsChannel 11 will keep you posted as this story continues to unfold.

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