For the first time in a decade, the Miami Beach (Fla.) Police Department is set to require a four-year college degree for all new officers. The department is also raising the minimum hiring age from 19 to 21 years old, reports the Miami New Times.

"[This gives MBPD] the potential to employ individuals who are more mature as a result of their age, have more life experience, and have been exposed to a diversity of thought and perspective that comes with a typical four-year college experience," City Manager Jimmy Morales writes in a letter to commissioners filed yesterday. "These individuals will also have demonstrated a high level of commitment to their personal learning and development through academic achievement."

For years, MBPB actually had required a college degree for officers, but that requirement was dropped around 2005 as a money-saving move.

As Morales explains in his letter, MBPD switched to a model aimed at hiring officers who'd already been recruited and trained by other departments. That saved the city money because new officers wouldn't have to go through academy training, which runs up to $26,000 per recruit.

But Chief Dan Oates says the new policy could help keep better officers on the beat.

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