Criminal Justice Programs Embrace 'Wokeness'

Academics everywhere have been rushing to make their schools more “woke” following the death of George Floyd. Supposedly, we must turn our colleges and universities into “anti-racism” institutions if we are to avoid more such incidents.

As you’d expect, that includes criminal justice programs, where leaders have declared that they will do all they can to fight police racism by transforming the curriculum. But that doesn’t make sense, argues Professor Dorothy Schulz of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In today’s Martin Center article, she points out that hardly any police officers go through criminal justice programs and that suffusing those programs with “anti-racism” isn’t going to improve the education of those students who are in those programs.

She writes, “Colleges rely on hyped-up marketing to convince students that the degrees are gateways to jobs as police or corrections officers, firefighters, emergency managers, or other public service positions. Sending the message that a cop badge starts at community college is not uncommon. Neither is posting typical hourly wages for law enforcement personnel.

But a law enforcement degree or certificate is not a direct line to a police job. To become a police officer, a candidate must meet a department’s requirements, including age and education (fewer than 1 percent require a four-year degree); physical, psychological, and drug testing.  Only after those criteria are met is a candidate eligible to attend a police academy.”

In short, we won’t rid ourselves of police officers like Derek Chauvin by putting more “diversity” in college law enforcement programs. But it makes college leaders feel good  to signal their immense virtue by adopting “anti-racism” books and materials for their students.

Schulz concludes, “Rather than obsessing over police training, colleges should look beyond race to refresh and enrich the instruction they are providing to the students enrolled in their law enforcement courses.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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