It's hard to argue against having police officers on the streets of Chicago who have the maturity and life experience to deal with high-stress situations in a level-headed, responsible way.
So the Chicago Police Department's decision to raise the minimum age for applying to be an officer by four years sounds like a good idea in theory.
But we're concerned about the unintended consequences the change might have for the city's police force.
Police officials say the goal behind raising the minimum age is to attract more mature candidates.
Instead of being 21, applicants must now be at least 25 to take the police entrance exam.
The one exception would be military veterans who have served at least three consecutive years of active duty. They can still apply after they turn 21.
Giving preference to veterans makes sense, since the training and discipline military recruits acquire during their service would seemingly make them well-suited for police work.
But our concern is that raising the age requirement for everyone else would exclude qualified candidates who aren't willing or able to wait until they're 25 to start their chosen career path.
Then, if you factor in the years many candidates wait after the police exam before they are called to join the police academy, you're looking at an even older (and possibly less physically fit) police force.
We also wonder what impact the change will have on officers' pension benefits, if they're joining the police force later.
Finally, raising the age requirement to 25 is a slap in the face to the young men and women who joined the police department's cadet program in high school or college with the expectation that they would be able to take the police exam soon after.
The program allows people between the ages of 17 and 21 to work in districts and learn how officers do their jobs.
Not surprisingly, many cadets now feel betrayed that the police department is changing the rules on them halfway through the game.
Maybe Supt. Jody Weis has considered all of these issues and deemed them less important than improving the maturity level of would-be officers. Maybe there's a serious problem with the caliber of the young recruits coming in that we don't know about.
We can't be sure, though, because department officials haven't said much about how they arrived at the decision. Questions sent to a police department spokeswoman Friday have not yet been answered.
While we're waiting, what do you think?