Title: Officer Selection Training and Process Course: CJS210 Submitted by: Travis Hance Course Instructor: Jason Garner

There are a few unique examples of the development of the professional training of police officers. Individuals who have made significant impacts upon the professionalism of law enforcement include such respected names as August Vollmer and Sir Robert Peel. These men introduced the idea of a professional, trained, and educated police force. They helped law enforcement turn from a fully volunteer and uncontrollable force into a professionally educated force that protected both the peace, and the rights of citizens.

August Vollmer introduced the first schools within the United States that helped officers become more professional, and apply a standard of training. “Vollmer is credited with, among other things, introducing the use of intelligence and psychological testing to officer-selection procedures. While the United States police organizations were offered upon British departments, the quick development of professional standards was completely based upon a desire to protect both society and the potential suspect through a system that respected all parties rights. (Grant & Terry, Pearson Education, Page 53, Copyright 2003)

In addition, he also introduced the idea of selection based upon a standard. Future officers could not simply be any fellow neighbors. They should represent a quality of character and spirit that others within the community would respect. This ideal of recruitment made the concept of professional policing a reality that became achievable. O.W. Wilson followed Vollmer by introducing concepts of law enforcement management. Commissioned officers can only improve based

upon a standard of professionalism if they are managed by officers and senior officials who strive to meet a higher standard. “Wilson viewed managerial efficiency as central to police administration, believing that police departments should “maximize patrol coverage by replacing foot patrols with one-person auto patrols” (Dempsey 1999, p. 16). Moreover, he saw rapid response to calls as being the best means of measuring the effectiveness of police departments. As such, he developed workload formulas to measure calls for service versus reported crimes on each beat to guide deployment. Both of these views became leading principles guiding police management throughout the Reform Era.” (Grant & Terry, Pearson Education, Page 53, Copyright 2003) This I believe was a turning point within the effort to see police departments become more professional. Not only were officers being pushed to gain education, training, and experience which would benefit the public, we also see a marked change in the way management operated. It was no longer enough for law enforcement agencies to operate according to the status quo. Department managers began to become responsible to both city officials, and even the public as litigation and scrutiny began to increase.

As a general rule, I believe it safe to conclude that any career path can be improved by continuing education, a demand for higher professional standards, and with that phrase in mind, a true standard which potential recruits must meet. The introduction of these concepts into the American law enforcement system served as a true turning point from random enforcement to a professional code of

ethics based in service to the citizens.

In 1935, the development of the FBI Academy introduced a higher standard of both investigatory procedure, as well as a standard in which individual crimes could be both tracked and traced. The compilation of physical and fingerprint evidence began to establish a national library of information that assisted investigators in the pursuit of justice. As our course material states: “Hoover was largely responsible for developing the FBI National Academy in 1935, which is responsible for training police officers from around the country in specialized policing and investigation techniques. Hoover also was responsible for establishing the FBI Crime Laboratory, which, despite controversy surrounding the lab in the 1990s, is generally regarded as one of the best such laboratories in the world.” (Grant & Terry, Pearson Education, Page 54, Copyright 2003). Additionally, the FBI has worked in partnership with various departments around the country in order to provide training for senior level officers in professional police procedure. Officers who graduate from the FBI academy are drawn from the senior levels of departments all over the country, and attend “a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement leaders that serves to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies at home and abroad and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge, and cooperation worldwide.” (The FBI Academy, U.S. Government, 2011) These graduate level courses help promote professional development within the leadership levels of major departments. Such skilled and highly trained leaders can than return to

promote improved training programs within there departments as a result of the unique lessons gathered from the national law enforcement experience of the FBI.

Unfortunately, despite these advances there are negative influences that must be considered. Budgetary constraints often influence civil service positions faster than a private sector position. Departments are often faced with a reduction in funds. The mildest impact is often noticed within training programs. During times of more serious economic constraint, qualified and experienced officers are often removed from the force simply due to a lack of funds. The answer therefore is based in continuing education. Officers and departments who pursue a higher standard of both education and professionalism are most often rewarded with higher levels of funding. As an article in Officer.com quotes: “"The money was never the deciding factor for most of us," (Law Enforcement Technology, www.officer.com, 2011. Page 32). This in my belief sums up the primary difference between those who truly choose law enforcement as a profession. Making a profession of something, at its very essence, assumes that you become professional in your methods and procedures through education and training. Law enforcement officers choose to do so out of a desire to serve and protect the community, and often such progressive training to become more professional is paid for personally.


A: Law Enforcement in the 21st Century, Second Edition, by Heath B. Grant and Karen J. Terry. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc., Page 53.

B: Law Enforcement in the 21st Century, Second Edition, by Heath B. Grant and Karen J. Terry. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc., Page 53.

C: Law Enforcement in the 21st Century, Second Edition, by Heath B. Grant and Karen J. Terry. Published by Allyn & Bacon. Copyright © 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc., Page 54.

D: The FBI Academy, http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/training/national-academy, 2011

E: Law Enforcement Technology, www.officer.com, 2011 https://content.ebscohost.com/pdf25_26/pdf/2011/108Y/01Jun11/64731629.pdf? T=P&P=AN&K=64731629&S=R&D=i3h&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHr7ESeprQ4zO X0OLCmr0meqLFSs664Sa6WxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPPm5ofj5OeQu ePfgeyx43zxo%2BWK