Law Enforcement Formal Academic Educational Hiring Requirements and Deputy Sheriff Disciplinary Issues
There is a lack of research as to what impacts law enforcement disciplinary issues. This is important due to the recent emphasis of officer performance and accountability. In 2008, the Southeast Sheriff's Office (SSO) increased their formal academic educational hiring requirement from a high school diploma to 60 college credits. The impact of this increase has never been analyzed. The purpose of this study was to determine through the theoretical lens of Kohlberg's 6 stages of moral development if an increase in the formal academic educational requirement influenced the number of deputy sheriff disciplinary issues. A quantitative nonexperimental study was used to examine all deputy sheriffs hired at the SSO from 2008 to 2013 and compare their formal academic education levels to the number of their disciplinary issues. A negative binomial regression analysis indicated there was no significant relationship between deputy sheriff formal academic education levels and the number of disciplinary issues. The results were then compared to a previous study conducted in 2011 which analyzed deputy sheriffs hired at the SSO from 2000 to 2005. It was concluded the increase in formal academic education hiring requirements did not impact the number of deputy sheriff disciplinary issues. Race, gender, age and military service of the deputy sheriffs were also analyzed with similar results. Scholarly implications include producing research based on how different levels of education directly impact issues deputy sheriffs have. Implications for social change include studying which characteristics of a deputy sheriff impact their disciplinary issues, which if mitigated could increase public trust in law enforcement and lead to better cohesion with the community.