St. Louis Police to Join Forces with Universities for Better Recruits; Education Level Is Tied to Better Performance, Retention of Officers; PUBLIC SAFETY

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS - A study suggesting that better-educated police officers are less likely to resign or be fired has spurred the Board of Police Commissioners to arrange a partnership with local universities to seek recruits.

An internal study released Wednesday showed that a less-educated an officer is more likely to get into a career-ending situation. And about 39 percent of the last 900 officers hired had only a high school education or General Equivalency Diploma.

The board endorsed a plan for Chief Dan Isom and Lt. Col. Paul Nocchiero to enter an agreement with the University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis University and Harris-Stowe State University. The goal over the next two years is to do all recruiting from the universities, he said.

The department will begin requiring at least a two-year associate's degree, and universities will get added job opportunities for students, Nocchiero said. "We believe this partnership will improve recruitment, retention, discipline, police services and overall employee satisfaction."

Since 1995, the department has required that recruits have at least 30 hours of college credit.

Jennifer Giancola, dean of the School for Professional Studies at SLU, said, "It's attractive for students to have clear career paths and it's also good to have three diverse institutions to chose from. …