Who, what, where

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's what you know

It's What you know

Students who believe the St. Cloud State University Criminal Justice Program and the careers that follow are "all handcuffs and assault rifles," said the founder and chair of the program, are not what SCSU is looking for. "Our goal is to turn out well-educated, compassionate human beings who have empathy for their fellow man," according to Professor Bob Prout.

To reach that goal, the program emphasizes the value of a liberal arts education, readily accepts students whose interests are in such non-criminal justice fields as English, biology and history, stresses the inter-relatedness of law enforcement, court services, corrections, juvenile justice and private security, and supports interaction with leaders in the field and around the world.

As a result, employers like Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner appreciate the talent pool at SCSU, where he finds "very well- trained, very professional, very well-rounded" candidates. With their liberal arts background, Sanner said, SCSU graduates make better decisions in the face of challenges throughout their law enforcement careers.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Department has chosen SCSU candidates often enough that, right now, 23 officers in the department are SCSU alumni. St. Cloud Chief of Police Dennis Ballantine also turns first to the University to fill staff openings: "SCSU is a fantastic resource," he said, adding that the many alumni he’s hired have great track records. He’s not the only police chief aware of SCSU students’ potential – during a recent visit to campus, Ballantine was surprised to run into recruiters from a surburban Dallas, Texas, police department.

It's Whom you know

SCSU students in criminal justice know all the right people – faculty members with connections. Two examples are Professor John Campbell, who has 28 years of experience with the FBI, the "Harvard" of law enforcement education worldwide, and Professor Barry Schreiber, an ATM crime expert who also has a knack for attracting classroom speakers who deal with law enforcement issues on a daily basis.

Law enforcement professionals who’ve spoken to students in the entry-level criminal justice course taught by Schreiber, and joined students for lunch, have included:

  • Then-Minnesota Attorney General Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey
  • Dennis Anderson, retired FBI expert on organized crime
  • Lieutenant Dorein Johnson, head of the segregation and youthful offender units at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud
  • Retired St. Paul Police Department Deputy Chief James Griffin, the first black sergeant, captain and deputy in the department’s history
  • Fred Friedman, chief public defender of the Northeast District of Minnesota
  • John Mock ’81, a fixed wing and helicopter pilot in the Minnesota State Patrol Aviation Unit

"We want students to see that there are great career possibilities out there, and somebody’s going to get those opportunities," said Schreiber, who asks them: "Why shouldn’t it be you?" Every semester, students from across the country are invited to compete for 8-10 openings in the FBI Academy’s intern program. Chosen students work in the behavioral science unit and the National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime, which is known for its criminal profiling work. Campbell helps students prepare for the extensive interview and screening process, with the result that SCSU wins more than its expected share of the valuable FBI Academy slots:

  • Jeff Ehrich ’00 interned in the FBI behavioral science unit, completed his senior thesis on the admissibility of criminal profiling testimony in court, clerked for Justice Sam Hanson of the Minnesota Supreme Court, and is now practicing law at Leonard, Street and Deinard in the Twin Cities.
  • Shawn Thompson ’98 worked on the problem of homicide of elderly women during his internship at the FBI Academy. He has since completed law school, worked as a special assistant United States attorney and joined the FBI, where he has served as current FBI Director Robert Mueller’s morning intelligence briefer and is now an assistant general counsel for national security affairs.
  • Beth (Hecker) Boxwell ’02 went on to earn her master’s degree in forensic psychology, at which time she interned in the FBI behavioral science unit. She is now in the criminal division as an intelligence analyst on her way to becoming a special agent.
  1. Professor Richard Lawrence has been actively involved in criminal justice teaching and research for 25 years. He authored an examination of the nature, extent and causes of school crime and disruptive behavior, "School Crime and Juvenile Justice," now in its second edition, and has worked with Twin City metro area schools on violence prevention.
  2. Associate Professor Stephen Hennessy joined SCSU after 37 years in law enforcement, including seven years as an FBI special agent and leadership roles with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Criminal Apprehension Division. He authored a breakdown of the communication and management styles necessary to be a successful law enforcement officer, "Thinking Cop, Feeling Cop: A Study in Police Personalities."
  3. Professor John Campbell came to SCSU after serving as academic dean of the FBI Academy. He developed Minnesota’s first public safety executive leadership master’s program at SCSU and served on a U.S. Department of Justice advisory board tasked with developing a curriculum and certification for international homicide investigators. He co-authored "Into the Minds of Madmen" a history of the FBI’s profiling work, and co-edited "Profilers: Leading Investigators Take You Inside the Criminal Mind."

It's where you go

Criminal justice majors have found that an SCSU education can lead them to careers across the state and country:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
While at SCSU Tim Koupal ’01, San Diego, Calif., interned with the U.S. Marshal’s Office, Minneapolis. He’s now a special agent on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement narcotics task force focused on Mexican and South American channels.

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)
On his way to a master’s degree Josh Florell ’02, Anoka County, wrote a policy manual for the Minnesota BCA Statewide Emergency Response Team. He’s now a senior special agent and supervisor in the training unit at the Bureau.

Edwin Quall ’01, Washington, D.C., chose SCSU for his master’s because he wanted to be taught by professors with extensive law enforcement experience. He’s now a supervisory analyst within the Interpol Operations and Command Center for the U.S. National Central Bureau of Interpol, U.S. Department of Justice. The Bureau facilitates cooperation between U.S. law enforcement and the 186 Interpol member countries.

Minnesota Department of Corrections
As an SCSU student, Jennifer Lampert ’04, St. Cloud, participated in a short-term criminal justice course in Croatia led by Professor Dick Andzenge. The experience convinced her corrections would be the right career choice. The former St. Cloud Correctional Facility officer now works in St. Paul with interstate offenders.

After he earned his master’s at SCSU, Larry Carr ‘97, Seattle, spent two years on Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s security detail. He’s now an FBI special agent in Seattle, where he developed a bank employee training program that helped cut bank robberies in half during the first quarter of 2007.

- Marge Proell

<< Previous  |  Contents  |  Next >>