Across the nation police departments are facing a hiring crisis due to the lack of qualified applicants. Now a partnership between the Department of Justice and various on-line for profit colleges hopes to fix that issue.
Chief Chris Roberts tells CallTheCops. “Five years ago I would have over 500 people apply anytime I posted a job opening. Now we are lucky to get a dozen applications. We found in a survey that all the CJ students finishing up degrees at Capella, University Phoenix, and Globe University were going on to get a Master’s Degree versus applying for real jobs.”
A study conducted by the DOJ found that many CJ students are not finding their way to the workforce. Many are staying stuck at home continuing to goto school for advanced degrees. In the words of one student “No one yells at me here [his online school]. I am afraid of the academy and someone yelling at me. So when I graduate I plan to get my MS degree and maybe even my PhD. I figure by then I should have grown out of my fears.”
Hearing statements like this the online schools saw an amazing niche market. Bring the police academy online so the online learners will keep going to school but also eventually get real jobs.
According to Dr. Geschrei getting graduates job is their biggest problem. “Keeping these kids in college for ten plus years is great for profit margins. Our recruitment is easy, just keep them going for more degrees. But now the financial aid people want numbers of job placements. So we can’t keep them in school forever, we need to get some of them real jobs. Yeah real police jobs, not, you know, coffee shop jobs…”
Many people are skeptical of an online academy. The often cited criticism is questions about teaching firearms and the hands on needed in responding to crime scenes.
“All these kids know video games” Dr. Geschrei adds “so we got a custom mod of Call Of Duty for them. Online in a MMO environment they will drive cars, respond to calls, talk to actors playing the suspects, victims, and witnesses. It is just like the real world, in an online environment. Shooting is shooting, once you get sight alignment down you got it… right?”
All the police chiefs we talked to are taking a “wait and see” attitude related to if they will hire from an online academy.