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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Consider the following:

John Doe takes the police officer civil service exam and scores a 98 on it. John has no college degree, and no job experience within the field of law enforcement. John is a resident of the first town on his preference list.

Bill Smith takes the police officer civil service exam and scores a 92 on it. Bill has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, and has 2 years, part-time job experience within the field of law enforcement. Bill isn't a resident of the first town on his preference list.

Both John and Bill have the same town at the top of their preference list, however only John is a resident.

With these two descriptions, consider the following question:

Should John get the job over Bill because he scored higher on the examination and because he is a resident of the town? Keep in mind that Bill has a bachelors degree in CJ and two years, part-time law enforcement experience.
 
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Welcome to Massachusetts ............ Where nothing is as it seems to be.

In a perfect world Bill Smith would get the job because of experience in the field and through his schooling. Sort of like in private industry, the best man for the job.

But in Massachusetts we have archaic laws designed to help those who live within the towns and who support the towns financially through taxes. That is why John Doe gets the position over Bill Smith who is more qualified.

Not the best scenario is it??
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just feel that if the law enforcement field portrays itself as a "profession," then a certain, required level of professionalism should be met, and every entry level police officer should be required to have a degree in CJ. It doesn't make sense to hire any Joe off the street who doesn't hold a broad knowledge about the CJ field. Look at other professions such as health care and education that require a certain amount of education before one can work in the field.
 

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I agree with strat... If Bill wanted the Job he should've studied. He should at least have scored a 98 like John if he wants the Job....
 

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I never understood why people say you can "study" for a civil circus exam. In my world of college, when I study for a test, We (Students) know somewhat what information should be studied (I.E. Notes, Chapters of a book). Civil Circus tests are NOTHING like that. Theres no Chapters of a book to read, no notes, no video, No nothing. Civil Circus tests are made up of, 50% Luck, 45% Good nights sleep and 5% of having god in your side to whisper the answers to you or in some cases a partner sitting next to you that you can work with on the answers!

I speak from 4 tests of expirence ranging fron scores of 89-96.
 

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Good point...as I reflect, I never studied.... Got a 95 on the last one... but I think some people do need to review the material to understand what will be on the test.

Apparently John "understood" the test better than Bill....
 

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Sure, the civil circus test is not comparable to a physics exam at MIT. But I know for a fact that the review I did of the material helped me out a lot. And there were "study guides" out there. Whether or not a person chose to look at those is their own perogative.

No, I don't think that the test score should be such a deciding factor in whether or not a person is hired. But neither should a degree in CJ. Anybody nowadays can stumble to enough classes between bong hits on mommy and daddy's dime to earn a degree. This is not to say that everybody does that, but I think it's a point to be made. Doesn't that diminish the value of a degree? Besides, why limit the degree to CJ? I have a degree in music for christ's sake, and I work in higher education administration and legislation. That's totally unrelated!
 

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The process of hiring for police jobs in this state based on testing is also impractical because someone with an obviously better background in law enforcement may miss out due to the fact that their test taking skills just may not be as sharp as someone else with no experience.

The study guides for police exams I feel do give you a better idea of what to expect as far the the type of questions asked, which don't so much as have to do with police work, but reading skills... remember those tests you had to take in elementary skools to evaluate your reading comprehension where you filled in the little dot? You would read a paragraph, then have to pick out "the main idea," etc. Another reason the guide might be helpful is to give the newcomber some practice in the memorization part of the test, where you are shown a picture of a scene and have to answer questions about it later, or practice in picking out the most likely suspect from one who's changed their appearance (those are easy anyway).

Here's a tip to better test taking skills for the FUTURE, along with getting a good night's sleep: TAKE YOUR TIME... DON'T RUSH. Read everything CAREFULLY. In mutiple choice tests, the first thing to do for every question is immediately eliminate the answers that are definately wrong, usually there will be 2 that you can cross off right away. Then reread the other answers left, and envision which best fits in with the situation you just read about. Go back and look for key words in the paragraph. I think too many people have gone through their lives used to taking tests in a certain way from their early school years, like racing your friend to see who finishes first despite getting a lower grade because they didn't take their time. I've seen people walk out the door of the civil circus exam in 45 minutes, which to me says they didn't know what they hell they were doing.

Maybe if Bill just brushed up on his reading skills and slowed down a little during the exam, he would have done better.
 

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Civil Service exams are not always correct. If you attend college and know your stuff, I believe civil service can hurt you. Before I attended school I scored in the high 90's, this is after hardly any sleep. Now I attend school and currently maintain a 3.94 GPA. For those who don't know......this is good. I scored a 93 on the exam and I will tell you that a few of the questions I over analyzed simply because of all the information I have learned from school. Once you become familiar with constitutional rights, 4th amendment, etc., you cannot help but apply that knowledge in the exam. It doesn't really matter anyway because John Doe, Bill, and myself will all be overlooked for Vinny the Vet.
 

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Civil Service needs to be overhauled, to be sure. Remember though, civil service was put in place to deter patronage (i.e. see "Boss Tweed"). Unfortunately, we know that this happens all the time in various levels of goverment. As for entry level police officer, the standard should remain. A high school diploma is all that is needed, that's how it should be. A person is given the basic tools in the academy, and that is not rocket science. Degrees and experience are nice, but are not controlling factors...thankfully.
 

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ShawnR76, I can't agree with your thoughts on education interfering with your ability to take the civil sercive test. Applicants were told from the very beginning that no prior knowledge of MGL would be required for the exam. At the time of the exam, I believe that people should be able to turn that analytical part of their thinking off if it is required. Why make something harder than it really is?
 

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strat60 said:
ShawnR76, I can't agree with your thoughts on education interfering with your ability to take the civil sercive test. Applicants were told from the very beginning that no prior knowledge of MGL would be required for the exam. At the time of the exam, I believe that people should be able to turn that analytical part of their thinking off if it is required. Why make something harder than it really is?
Strat,

I never asked for you to agree with me, I was simply offering MY opinion. I do recall being told about not having to know MGL. I will say though, it is not that easy to turn off my analytical part of thinking. I am not upset with my score, I actually have a better ranking this time around than I did when I was in the high 90's before. The exam was not hard, just some questions were a bit off. I probaly could have better explained myself for my quote to be better understood. I do believe though that if given an interview, my education will help.
 

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A general education (criminal justice excluded) cannot possibly make one score lower on the civil service, and to suggest so is rediculous. Taking the SATs and other standardized testing gives you great experience for the civil service exam. Here is were some people run into a problem: Those of us who have some law enforcment experience and training, or a degree in criminal justice can definatly over analyze some of the questions. I can recall several officers on this board that ran into a problem on a question regarding out of jurisdiction M/V stops. "Well, technichally if this happened_________ they can't, but then again if this happens________they can...." and so on. It's easy to forget that the answer if really simple because no proir experience is assumed. That's my 2cents. :)
 

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And don't forget Robo, as prior discussed in this forum, that the overanalyzed answer did turn out to be correct despite everyone debating the laws for MV stops. There were 3 "no" answers and 1 "yes"... the yes answer was correct because the paragraph was about fresh and continued pursuit... the answer was found simply in the paragraph. I will never forget that question as long as I live.

It is possible to have a degree in Criminal Justice and still score high on the CC exam. It's not a matter of turning off your knowledge, it's not even a matter of police work... as I said before, it's reading comprehension, that's all it is. It's just your reading skills and ability to follow directions.
 

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ROBOCOP1982 said:
A general education (criminal justice excluded) cannot possibly make one score lower on the civil service, and to suggest so is rediculous. Taking the SATs and other standardized testing gives you great experience for the civil service exam. Here is were some people run into a problem: Those of us who have some law enforcment experience and training, or a degree in criminal justice can definatly over analyze some of the questions. I can recall several officers on this board that ran into a problem on a question regarding out of jurisdiction M/V stops. "Well, technichally if this happened_________ they can't, but then again if this happens________they can...." and so on. It's easy to forget that the answer if really simple because no proir experience is assumed. That's my 2cents. :)
Robo,

Who said General Education. I am not in school to learn how to cook. My education would be CJ. I never said that having a degree makes one score lower, I said that I BELIEVE it can hurt you. <-----Notice the OPINION.....Everything I pretty much mentioned in my post was about me, not you or anyone else. I was speaking from personal experience......Is that OK with you. Maybe next time I will PM you for permission, I wouldn't want to suggest anything ridiculous or as you put it "Rediculous"
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I don't totally agree with the assumption that "all one needs to be a police officer is obtained at the academy." The reason I say this is because during the process of obtaining my bachelor's in CJ, I've been made aware of certain issues that specifically pertain to police officers, that I probably would have never considered if I didn't go to school. Basically my point is that if after a couple years out of high school I decided I wanted to become a police officer, I wouldn't contain a third of the knowledge I do now going into my senior year as a CJ major. The more knowledge on something the better. It's not like CJ classes teach MGL or defensive tactics or any other area that is covered in the academies, however, I think a degree can give a person a better overall view of the CJ system.
 

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Focus of the question:

Degree and Experience v. Test score and Residency

Civil Service standards are based test score and residency (throw in vet too) for police officers. Experience is calculated into your test score. In other areas of civil service, there are jobs that require a college education. Police officers are not one of them. I never stated the academy is an "end-all" education. It does provide the basics necessary to perform the duties of a police officer. It is up to the individual (outside of in-service), to advance themselves and keep up with current law and enforcement techniques. College is just one way to do that, not a requirement. "The job" does not require a college education. To do so would eliminate potential candidates that are just as equal to the task of performing the duties of a police officer.
 

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It's pretty simple. The test is a Basic Knowledge test. If you go in with the "Cop mentality" you won't do well. Or like someone else said (shawnr?), they over analyze it...???... OK. again, it's a basic test. Like my girl Dunngie (oops, smack?) said, no previous experience or MGL knowledge is needed... so why would you try to apply the amendments?

Tip: when you take the civil service test just relax, pretend you're "Larry the Janitor" and just taking the test for shits and giggles... you'll do much better.

Granted all that CJ Education is nice and all, but basic knowledge and sense will be a life saver on the street.
 
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Okay my :2c: again,

The test is basically made for people who have no understanding of basic police principles or working knowledge of the job. It's geared to the high school or GED earner. If you overthink the question you will second guess yourself and do poorly in my OPINION.

Check out the test booklet given to you and study from that ONLY. Those bogus courses seen in the Herald on page 42 are just that, BOGUS. This is said from personal experience and by no means is this a personal attack on ANYONE on this board. I get enough hate & fan PM's on here anyway without making more enemies.

Why take a job and make it harder by requiring a 2 year degree in CJ? It's not brain surgery but basic common sense thrown in with some street savvy, compassion and book smarts that makes the best cops. Guys who think they know it all end up being the pariah's of the department and this board. Hint hint.
 
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