Salem, OR – Oregon state lawmakers are considering a bill that would require all Oregon law enforcement officers to earn four-year college degrees, regardless of how long they have served.
Senate Bill 612, the brainchild of Senator Lew Frederick (D – Portland), would apply to every police officer, correction officer, probation and parole officer, reserve officer and regulatory specialist within the state.
Under the bill, which was introduced on Monday, departments with more than 50 such positions would only be allowed to hire applicants who hold bachelor’s degrees.
Departments with less than 50 such employees would be allowed to hire applicants who have “completed at least two years of post-secondary education,” according to the legislation.
Officers who are currently employed within the state of Oregon would have to earn their degrees within the next four years under the proposed bill, or else they would be fired.
The post-secondary education requirement would apply to all officers – nearly all of whom are already working full-time covering shifts around the clock – and does not include any exceptions for officers who have been working in law enforcement positions for years.
The bill is currently on the Oregon Senate President’s desk and has yet to be referred to committee, according to the Oregon State Legislature’s website.
Prospective officers must be at least 21 years of age under current Oregon law in order to qualify for employment.
Additional minimum qualifications for hire vary by department.
Senator Frederick also introduced Senate Bill 619 on Monday to pay reparations to black Oregonians.
Under his proposed bill, $123,000 would be paid out annually to each person for the rest of their life.
The payment would be exempt from state, county, and municipal taxes.