Continuing Education in Law Enforcement

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“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein

Going back to school after being away for over twenty years has proven to be both challenging and rewarding.  Last year I began taking classes online at Williams Baptist University with a major in Criminal Justice.  What I’ve discovered is that gone are the days when classes were filled with just young people just finishing high school.  Today’s classes are also filled with students in their forties, fifties, and even sixties seeking to further their education.  This is especially relevant in the world of law enforcement.

Police officers are working in a world where laws are often changing.  Not only do you have to be knowledgeable of current laws but also have a grasp on writing good reports.  The police report you write is not just for your eyes.  The report will be viewed by both the plaintiff, defendant, attorneys, and even judges.  I was fortunate early in life to have a college professor who worked with me.  She was known as the toughest professor at the college but I took every course she taught.  I knew her expectations were high so I had a desire to do my best.  Later in my career, I would be writing search warrants and arrest warrants on a daily basis that would be viewed by judges.  Her encouragement certainly paid off.  Studies have shown that educated officers demonstrate greater levels of creativity and problem-solving skills.  Both of which are advantages in today’s work environment.

The ability to take classes online has proven to be a tremendous convenience for those going back to school.  It allows those who work full time, to still be able to work on their classes at night or anytime they have a break.  It does take dedication and scheduling to make it work.  Evenings at our home are spent with me working on assignments in the evenings following work. I try to get my work completed early in the week to free up time on the weekends.  For most classes, a weekly discussion question requiring an answer of a minimum of two hundred words, a minimum of two one hundred- and fifty-word replies, along with a five-hundred-word minimum paper is due each week.  A major obstacle I had to overcome was learning APA format. The school provided excellent resources on learning how to properly cite works as well as some tips from the teachers at Hackett High!

With only three classes remaining, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m scheduled to graduate this May with my Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and possibly continue my education toward my Master’s Degree.  I would encourage everyone in the field of law enforcement to continue their education in some form.  Whether it be accumulating training through your department or college.

As Henry Ford once said “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.  The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young”.

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