The following is a news release from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department:
When Sheriff Stan Sniff took office in October 2007, he publicly made one of the department's goals the need to increase formal educational levels in the department to meet the challenges of the modern law enforcement profession in community oriented policing & problem solving (COP), techniques that have increasingly empowered patrol deputies and police officers at the front-line level. Formal education in the law enforcement profession has become more important in dealing with increased diversity, technology and communication skills in public-private partnerships that stem from COP, and intelligence-led or predictive policing models. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department has seen an increase over the last decade in entry-level deputies with college degrees and graduate degrees entering its workforce.
Sheriff Sniff signaled his intent to "raise the bar" – especially for members of the department in leadership positions – in early 2008, and then implemented several key changes on formal education for the Sheriff's Department:
1) In 2008, education incentives were created for personnel to reward individual employee's pursuit of educational degrees to better lead an increasingly educated entry-level workforce.
2) Promotion requirements were altered to expand the range of educational degrees preferable for advancement from those that focused solely on the Administration of Justice or Criminal Justice to also include Liberal Arts, Sociology, Business Administration, and other courses that emphasized communication, understanding diversity, and critical-thinking skills.
3) Effective in 2010, and for the first time in the department's history since it was created in 1893, Sheriff Sniff imposed a requirement for a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university for anyone promoted to the rank of "Captain", those that oversee the department's bureaus, facilities, or stations. The rank of Sheriff's Captain is normally the key assignment before any opportunity to be appointed into the department's executive ranks of Chief Deputy, Assistant Sheriff, or Undersheriff. The department's executives oversee a large modern law enforcement operation that includes nearly 4,000 fulltime employees and an annual operating budget of well over a half-billion dollars. Since 2010, any Sheriff's Lieutenant desiring to promote to the rank of Captain, had to have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. The department currently has 23 Captains and 93 Lieutenants.
4) The department continued sending promising Lieutenants, after a rigorous selection process, to the FBI National Academy and the POST Command College. The Sheriff's Department has had 20 Lieutenants graduate from the FBI National Academy over the years, with 12 still actively serving in the department.
As a result of those changes that started in late 2007, substantially more members of the department returned to college while working, raising the formal educational levels in the Sheriff's Department, and improving the management skills of the leaders at all levels. Here is the current "snapshot" status of the department's educational progress after those changes were placed into effect:
1) Of the 13 most senior executives in the Sheriff's Department, all 13 have bachelor's degrees, 6 of the 13 executives have graduate degrees, and 6 executives are FBI National Academy or Command College graduates.
2) Of the 23 Captains currently serving, 19 of the 23 have college degrees, 7 have graduate degrees, and 1 has a Ph.D. in Sociology, and 6 are FBI National Academy or Command College graduates.
Sheriff Stan Sniff holds both a bachelor's and master's degree, and is an honor graduate of the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College Course, Ft. Leavenworth, KS.
Sheriff Sniff has indicated that the department will continue to emphasize formal education in professional development and has been very pleased with the department's progress.