No College Required 

For its newest recruit class, MPD drops college and military requirements.

In the late 1970s, then-Memphis police director Buddy Chapman noticed officers were having trouble doing the most basic of duties: filling out traffic tickets.

"What a policeman writes is very critical to a case most of the time," said Chapman, who served as director from 1976 to 1983. "Some of the officers couldn't read or comprehend the [traffic] tickets."

Eventually, Chapman required police recruits to have two years of college, or roughly 54 credit hours. Lacking that, officers needed two years of military service.

But in November, the Memphis Police Department (MPD) axed those requirements in hopes of enlarging its pool of applicants. The first police training academy class since the college requirement was dropped begins Monday, January 21st.

Public affairs officer Monique Martin said MPD never considered officers' grades. "The hours were just as is," Martin said. "We didn't know if they passed or failed a class, or if they were an A student or a C student."

A 2006 study by the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission recommended that MPD keep the college requirement, stating that college-educated officers had better patrol performance, better communication skills, and less absenteeism.

"It's not so much about specific classes that you take that make you a better officer. College shows that you understand the discipline behind learning," said research associate Katy Mack, who authored the Crime Commission study.

Though former police director Chapman fears many high school graduates "function on a ninth-grade level," he understands why MPD did away with the college requirement.

"You have to face reality," Chapman said. "They're not able to fill their quota with that requirement."

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Blank Canvas

      Input sought on the future of Rust Hall and Brooks Museum.
    • Flying Axes

      Civil Axe brings new sport to Memphis.
ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bianca Phillips

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation