There has been a recent drive to improve college enrollment among law enforcement officers. To this effect, some states and colleges are introducing new curricula that match modern law enforcement training needs. Police shootings and reports of police brutality have hampered the image of law enforcement to such an extent that getting recruits for the force has become quite a challenge.

In Kentucky, the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT) recently announced an education initiative for law enforcement that will enable officers to get a college degree. Called Educating Heroes, the program offers the opportunity to earn an associate degree for basic training recruits.

They can do this simultaneously as they are training to be officers and for free. The idea is to offer college education as a benefit and help law enforcement agencies across the state achieve an increase in recruitment numbers.

The initiative is the result of DOCJT’s partnership with Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). The state department hopes that this will act as a powerful incentive to attract new talent.

Recruits across community law enforcement agencies who enroll as students will receive support and resources like study guides, tutoring, and group-study opportunities to complete the program.

A college education also gives students a broader perspective on life and helps them understand that there are two sides to every story. Racial bias and shootings have had far-reaching implications for policing and have given younger generations rather negative impressions.

Schools that have taken up the initiative to offer higher education to current and future officers hope that it will help them develop an appreciation of people and their backgrounds. Recognizing and respecting diversity may be a catalyst for changing the way the criminal justice system works.

In North Carolina, Forsyth County Sheriff's Office is now partnering with Piedmont International University to offer bachelor’s degree programs that take changes in technology, society, and law enforcement techniques into account.

Officers who want to grow in their careers and gain leadership positions will find this useful. Maturity, better communication skills, and better application of knowledge to deescalate situations are just some of the benefits.

An educated officer will have a broader understanding of issues in the community and the nuances of the profession. It will help them foster better relationships with members of the community and police departments.