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Philadelphia Reduces College Requirement for Officers

May 03, 2016  | 

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey believed police recruits should have at least two years of college under their belts before their boots hit the streets.

"I think we do a disservice to young people by having them go through school thinking that they can get good-paying jobs without at least looking at some level of college work," Ramsey said last year, defending his policy of requiring recruits to have earned 60 college credit hours or served two years in the military.

Asked if the policy contributed to the department's recruiting woes - especially of African Americans - Ramsey replied, "I also think it's an embarrassment to think that you have to lower the standards."

Since January, a new commissioner has been running the Philadelphia Police Department, and when it comes to cops and college, he's about to flip the script.

Commissioner Richard Ross, a Ramsey protégé, has said he also believes college is good for new hires - but not at the expense of the department's manpower requirements. The department's ideal number of sworn officers is 6,525, but the current head count is just over 6,100.

Ross shared those numbers with City Council at an April budget hearing when he revealed he has begun the process to overturn Ramsey's 2012 college mandate. Ross says it may be scaring off potential recruits, Philly.com reports.


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