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Police Incompetence

Police Education and Training

Recent interactions with local police made me curious as to the education and training required to be a police officer. A cursory review of available research made the hair stand on the back of my neck. In a nutshell, education-wise, US police officers don’t need more than a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development,) a group of four basic areas of knowledge: science, mathematics, social studies, reading/writing. While GED sounds good, it totally misses the context provided in structured classes. In my opinion, it’s really just geared toward passing the tests so, bottom line, we’re not exactly hiring the cream of the crop for police jobs.

Low pay is always the whipping boy for low quality recruits but that’s not as much the case as one might believe. In Phoenix, entry level police pay is approximately $69,000. What other job pays that kind of money for a GED graduate? Of course, the next parry is, “It’s a dangerous job.” To quote a former fat orange moron Commander in Chief of the United States, who, while speaking at the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson after his death in an ambush in Niger, said “…he knew what he signed up for…” Cops know what they sign up for and if they don’t like the risks, they can find another job. Most cops are in it for the power. How else can a kid who graduated high school with a 1.9 GPA wield that much power over others.

Examining police training requirements, things begin to look even grimmer. In the US, the average police training program is 5 months. Add another 3 months under a “field training officer” who is just as likely to pass on the same misinformation given him when he was a rookie and the whole process is a sham. Trainees receive about 60 hours of firearms training versus 20 hours of de-escalation training which shows where the emphasis lies in the training. Bottom line, police training in the US is all about “busting heads.”

The chart to the right shows the US requires about 700 hours of training. The next country, Canada, requires nearly twice as much at about 1100 hours. Training just isn’t a high priority among US police departments.

Is it any wonder police in the US are generally unaware of the very laws they’re supposed to be enforcing. A good source for YouTube videos of police interactions gone sideways is Audit the Audit. You’ll be amazed at the number of cops who don’t know the law they’re claiming to enforce. In many cases, they’re simply making it up as they go along. A good feel-good story combines a heroine who stands her ground, an overzealous cop who is eventually fired and a sizable payout to the heroine. You don’t have to be a lawyer but stand your ground if you’re being told to break a law.

Another of my favorites is Corporal JD Ellison of Nicholas County Sheriff’s Dept, West Virginia, who literally ticketed a driver for laughing at him. Unfortunately, the judge, probably a WV high school graduate, upheld one charge because he didn’t carefully read or understand the statute (Statute @ 3:00 mark.) Bottom line, the cop simply pulled a citation out of his butt, never expecting the driver to take it to court.

There are way too many videos to enumerate here but you get the gist. Don’t take a cop’s word on why he’s acting like a jerk. Many cops don’t know the law much more than you. One final tip, many cell phones can be programmed to start up in video mode. On mine, even when it’s turn off, two quick presses of the On/Off button immediately brings it up in video mode. This is handy when you’ve been contacted by police and you want to record the interaction. Of course, me being me, I also have a bodycam. Try to never allow the situation devolve into “he said-she said.” At the very least, ask the officer to show you his bodycam is activated and working. The first time you stand up for your rights, your heart will be racing, your mouth will be dry and you’ll be tripping over your tongue. Slow down and remember, as a US citizen, you have certain unalienable rights.

Here are some reference sources I used to gather my data:

BBC News – How US police training compares with the rest of the world
The Atlantic – American police are inadequately trained
Council on Foreign Relations – How police compare in different democracies
NPR – The state of police training in the U.S.
Axios – Phoenix police officers will be highest paid in Arizona
Wikipedia – General Educational Development (GED)

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