A new bill introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer requires police officers to hold a bachelor’s degree or be at least 25 years of age to join the police force in California. Jones-Sawyer said that the bill aims to reduce the violent encounters that occur between officers and the people they serve.
“This data-driven bill relies on years of study and new understandings of brain development to ensure that only those officers capable of high-level decision-making and judgement in tense situations are entrusted with working in our communities and correctional facilities,” Jones-Sawyer said.
According to a 2007 study, police officers with bachelor’s degrees “were less likely to use physical force” than officers without one. A study done in 2017 by the University of California, Fullerton equates persons with college educations “are more likely to embrace new methods of policing,” Dr. Christina Gardiner, professor of criminal justice, said. She also said that these officers are “more receptive to new department changes that are also championed and encouraged by members of the community,” True Activist reported.
Other data revealed that “the prefrontal cortex of the brain” isn’t truly developed until age 25, according to the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC).
While many countries require police officers hold a bachelor ‘s degree, in the United States only a handful of states including North Dakota, Illinois, and New Jersey require their officers have at least two years of college education.
If passed, California could soon join other states in way of police reform.
“This could be the beginning of changing the entire way that policing is done on the front end,” Jones-Sawyer said. Then we can let the bad cops retire on the back end.”