Is an Associates degree valuable?

I told my family I want to get an associates degree, join the National Guard after, then become a Law Enforcement officer.

My dad says that Associates degrees are awful and that I would be better getting a 4 year degree. I want to get a 4 year degree way later in life rather than right now. Am I in the wrong? Is the degree that bad?

Many lower-level jobs in law enforcement only require an associate's degree, so this credential is somewhat worthwhile for you. However, you may want to consider getting your bachelor's degree sooner rather than later if you hope to advance your career and give yourself more options.

I found this quote about the advantages of earning a bachelor's degree in law enforcement rather than just an associate's degree:

"One big advantage is the increase in types of job and job opportunities available to successful graduates at all levels of law enforcement: local, state, and federal. Annual starting salaries for these jobs typically range between approximately $44,000 and $62,000 a year. While many individuals enter their law enforcement career with an associate's degree, pursuing a bachelor's degree upfront can pay off in more ways than one."

This being said, if you feel you're not ready get your bachelor's degree, you shouldn't be afraid to go ahead with your original plan. After you've already earned an associate's degree, it's likely that you'll be able to earn your bachelor's in a shorter amount of time in the future based on your academic background. According to the same site I referenced above:

"Students who already have their associate's degree in law enforcement or who have completed training at a police academy might be able either to transfer their credits or test out of some of the classes, possibly obtaining their bachelor's degree in just two years."

In this case, it's fine to go at your own pace. You'll definitely still be able to accomplish your intended goals if you start out with an associate's degree.