Police Officer Job Requirements: 6 Things That Need to Change
New York City Police Academy cadets attend their graduation ceremony | Andrew Burton/Getty Images
It’s difficult to watch the news or read the newspaper for a week without seeing a story of alleged police brutality or a case where misunderstandings between citizens and officers spiraled wildly out of control, putting lives in danger on both sides of the handcuffs. Jobs as an officer are undoubtedly some of the most stressful and dangerous, especially in the charged climate of strained relationships between departments and the communities they are sworn to serve in many cities across the nation.
In light of this, the most influential minds in law enforcement agree that changes need to be made in how police officers are prepared for their jobs. When we dig past single current events, we start to see a training system that is in need of some significant improvements. However, the focus needs to be on system-wide improvements, rather than placing the blame at the feet of individual officers, wrote Ronald Davis, the director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (a division of the United States Department of Justice).
“If we are to achieve real and sustainable reform in law enforcement, our focus must shift from the police (those individuals sworn to uphold the law) to policing systems (the policies, practices, and culture of police organizations),” Davis wrote in an open letter to his colleagues around the nation. With that in mind, we took a look at some of the suggestions that officers and academics have given in recent months for improving the way officers are prepared for their jobs. They might not account for every incident gone wrong, but could ward off unnecessary conflict or violence.