Criminal Justice Reform through Higher Education and Continuing Education in Timely and Relevant Topics
In the year 2020 and beyond, society, and the community overall demands professionalism from its law enforcement agencies. The complexities of law enforcement have grown tremendously due to technology advancements, increased demand in community quality of life issues, and complex laws. The job of policing now requires an officer to have the knowledge and skills to operate new technologies, have an understanding for different cultures, reduced bias, better communication, and problem-solving skills. In 2020, due to several individual incidents involving suspects who died at the hands of police which caused outrage and civil unrest, the public is calling for police reform and some are calling for the defunding of the police. In order for law enforcement to regain the public trust and credibility, it calls for policing agencies to require higher education degrees and increased hiring standards. Policing now requires more than technical skills. It requires both technical and academic education. The officers must be provided the necessary higher education to ensure professionalism within policing in America. Higher education provides better understanding of different cultures, better report writing, communications, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Law enforcement, through the community demands for service, has moved from an occupation to a profession or social work-oriented operation. Other professions similar to law enforcement such as social workers, nurses, and teachers require four-year degrees. Criminal Justice reform should begin with formal Education and continuing education, to include relevant topics.