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Stimuli of Police Education: Wickersham and LBJ's (Lyndon B. Johnson) Commission

NCJ Number
Justice Professional Volume: 3 Issue: 2 Dated: (Fall 1988) Pages: 298-317
V G Strecher
Date Published
20 pages
Only Presidents Herbert Hoover and Lyndon B. Johnson appointed commissions to study the American Criminal Justice System in the Twentieth Century. Both commissions recommended higher education for the police. The common assumption is that the 1931 'Wickersham Commission' report accomplished little and the 1967 'President's Commission' report was the prime stimulus of police education.
This research indicates: (1) police education was stimulated by the Wickersham Commission; (2) police education attainment grew exponentially until 1967; (3) between 1931 and 1967 changes in social values, structures, institutions and technology modified the social context to create a new threshold facilitating adoption of the President's Commission recommendations; (4) a surge in police educational attainment and proliferation of educational programs followed the 1967 report; (5) this surge intensified a trend, rather than initiating one; and (6) conventional assumptions about disparities in educational accomplishment between the Wickersham and President's Commissions have been erroneous or distorted. President Johnson's upgrading of the American police might well be regarded as his 'invisible achievement,' and perhaps one of his more significant contributions to the quality of life in the United States. (Author abstract)


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