Who Told You You Were A Police Officer? My Educational Case Study of American Policing

Purpose of the Study: The following discussion concentrates on the principal relationships found within the learning environment of American policing, and addresses instructional practices, curricula, and educational philosophies as they relate to learners within the paramilitary structure that governs current law enforcement training. The question becomes: How can the basic educational platform currently being used in California law enforcement police officer training be adapted to include alternative forms of instruction for the purposes of social transformation? Procedure: Specifically, I am concerned with examining the educational methodologies and philosophies used during basic academy and in-service training contexts of American policing. I have chosen to investigate the relationships between these aspects for the purpose of determining functional alternatives to the existing educational perspective and practices supporting contemporary law enforcement training. Findings: By ascertaining those practices through which police officers can amass critical knowledge and social understanding, training environments can be designed produce police officers that come to rely upon the critical development of their intellectual prowess and the socio-cultural dynamics historically found in American policing to address the imbalances of sociopolitical power for the purposes of communal benefit. v Conclusions: My conclusions suggest that inservice education that focuses on developing police officers’ ability to take transformative discretionary actions (TDA’s) will empower them to become more self‐reflective and socially conscious. This approach to inservice training for police officers will enable them to readily actualize their prior knowledge and seek additional levels of personal development for mutual welfare and benefit. In so doing, it is anticipated that this type of training of police officers can effect an interactional change that influences the institutional function of American policing.