Asheville Police Lower Educational Requirements for Recruits

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Asheville Police Department has cut degree requirements for new recruits, saying new police officers no longer need a two-year college degree and can be hired with a high school diploma.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Interim Police Chief Wade Wood said the change is intended to increase the size, diversity and quality of the department’s applicant pool. The department quietly lowered education requirements in June.

Asheville began a push to increase academic standards in the mid-1990s under Chief Will Annarino, but 23 officers filed a grievance in 2001, claiming his policy of paying new hires with college degrees 5 to 10 percent more was unfair to current officers with degrees.

Eventually, the standard was set at a two-year associate degree or 60 curriculum hours.