Tag Archives: criminal justice

Law Enforcement Can Be a Rewarding Career

Reg75_CriminalJustice200x160Are you interested in law enforcement? Make a career of it! Our Criminal Justice program can prepare you for this rewarding public-service field.

There is a wide range of jobs in law enforcement — from police officer to correction officer, constable, FBI or CIA agent, drug enforcement officer or U.S. marshal. Court reporters and paralegals also are involved in criminal justice. Our program gives you knowledge you’ll need to work in corrections, probation, government and private security settings. Learn more about careers in criminal justice.

Sample Criminal Justice courses and electives at some of the colleges of Dallas County Community College District include:

  • Correctional System and Practices
  • Court Systems and Practices
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Juvenile Justice System
  • Fundamentals of Criminal Law
  • Police Systems and Practices

Other classes, such as sociology, public speaking, speech communication, math, composition, computers, Spanish and more will give you a well-rounded education.

Degrees and Certificates

Learn details about the Criminal Justice credit courses we offer and the courses required for Criminal Justice degrees and certificates.

Be sure to meet with an academic advisor so he or she can help you determine which courses you should take. If you are new to the colleges of DCCCD, complete the admissions and registration process at Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield or Mountain View College.

Peace Officer Training and Licensing

Cedar Valley College in Lancaster and Eastfield College in Mesquite offer state-certified Basic Peace Officer training courses and certification licensed through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. These programs are administered through the Continuing Education Divisions at each college.

Contact Us

If you have questions about the Criminal Justice program that aren’t answered on our website, please feel free to contact us.

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Student Success Story: Bobby Zito

Reg75_BobbyZito160x200Bobby Zito had to delay his goal of being in law enforcement. But when the chance came to change careers, he took it.

“I wanted to become a police officer years ago, but my family took priority. After serving in the Army and Reserve for eight years, I went into other work and was working as chief financial officer at a printing company, but eventually I got laid off.

“Several of my friends who are police officers said, ‘Do it now; go back and do what you’ve always wanted to do.’ I went to Eastfield’s Criminal Justice Training Center and talked to Neal Wilson, who told me about all of the options the program offers.”

Zito received Basic Peace Officer training at Eastfield, then served in DeSoto as a reserve police officer — “it’s a little like an internship” — which helped him land his present job with the North Lake College campus police. He’s now a lieutenant.

“Most of my fellow students in the police academy were career-changers like me,” he says. “I’ll be honest — it wasn’t easy being back in school after about 30 years. But it was worth it, because I love what I’m doing.

“It may sound kind of corny, but what you get out of this job is helping people, giving back something in public service. And to be successful in this field, you really do have to have a commitment to integrity. You definitely don’t go into police work for the money; it’s not a career where you’re going to become wealthy. But if it’s what you love to do and you also get satisfaction out of performing a true public service, it’s absolutely worth it.”

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In a Student’s Words: Goal-Setting Changed My Life

Guest columnist Sidney Williams is a student in Mountain View College’s Criminal Justice program.

By Sidney Williams

I can, I am, I will.

Success is something that I feel you have to attract. My one rule, or, should I say, request, is to give up striving to be perfect and just be authentic. I feel that if you have a vision to succeed, then success is possible. If you’re going to succeed, you must be able to give up on the cause of being perfect and state that you’re ready to be authentic. I believe that most of us are at a place in our life where we are typically trying to emulate authentic values or principles.

I feel that the change in my life first occurred when I began to release the defeating aspects of life based on the burdens I held in my past. I felt that I didn’t have sources to channel exactly what I had wanted in a quality of life based on the outcomes and obstacles that faced an individual like me. Lacking education and the mental and physical aspects to succeed was disabling. I had allowed thoughts and opinions on the quality of life and many situations to follow me.

I feel most of us are at a place in our lives where we could be either victims or creators. I remember times when I would be trying to just get through the day. I was so depressed that I would just pass my day in bed, not wanting to approach the day and everything that came with the alarm clock.

Until one morning, everything changed for me.

I took the advice of a sergeant in the Army. He said, “When I feel down, I go for a run. It clears my mind, and I become motivated.”

I was disordered — physically, intellectually, mentally, emotionally and spiritually — until one morning I laced up my shoes and grabbed my iPod. Although I wasn’t a runner, I approached the situation because I was desperate.

I was listening to a track from a motivational speaker. It’s not that I hadn’t heard the speech before — I had heard it several times. The speaker said that your level of successes will seldom exceed your level of personal development. And I went from a brisk jog to a walk … to just turning around towards the house. Because it had finally hit me like a tidal wave of reality. I realized what had been holding me back, what was causing all my depression and situations: I hadn’t been developing myself to be at the level that I needed to be to attract, create and sustain the level of success that I wanted.

We all strive for the level of 10 for our success rate on a scale of 1 to 10. I wanted my level of success to be 10, but my level of personal development was at 2, maybe 3 or 4 on my good days. However, if it were at 3 or 4, it was going to be a constant struggle. So we can all see the disconnect.

I ran back to the house with the decision that personal development would be part of my daily life.

So I had to make a commitment. I had to grow.

I pulled out my planner and looked at my schedule, and I told myself that late at night was certainly out of the question. I looked at the morning schedule and said that I’m not a morning person. I’m already getting up at 6 a.m. because I had to, not by choice. The idea of getting up at 5 a.m. for developmental reconditioning seemed ludicrous, impossible.

But, then I remembered what one of my mentors had said:  “If you want your life to be different, then you have to be willing to do something different first.” I was like, “Dang it, he’s right.”

And so, reluctantly, I wrote it in my schedule: personal development, 5 a.m.

When I did that, something seemed to happen. I pulled out a piece of paper and started writing out what I would do in the morning. I began to write all the best personal developmental, life-changing activities that I had learned throughout the years but had failed to implement. I wrote down ideas like journaling, meditation, affirmation, visualization, reading, exercising — the things that I had been told would change my life.

I finally got to try my new routine. The morning was here.

Once 6 a.m. rolled along, I realized that with the decision to interact with my many obstacles and roadblocks, and the need of an education to brighten my future, this new understanding and clarity allowed me to make a plan and change situations and their outcome. I was able to set aside mitigating circumstances that were in my way.

I feel that everyone is a creator; it’s just that they need to place a value and an expectation to achieve the most they possibly can by setting realistic goals and having the motivation to triumph when life has placed roadblocks on their journey to success.

I was once asked why I was pursuing a career in criminal justice and correction when all it was is a piece of paper. However, it’s more than just a sheet of paper to me. It’s gaining the experience to overcome obstacles and set boundaries. I believe that my education/experience in the criminal justice and correction field is merely the tip of the iceberg for many to excel at what they feel is a way to accomplish what they put their minds to.

Despite my many failures in life, it’s not an option for me or anyone around me to quit now; it’s only to achieve. It’s with the awareness of a brighter tomorrow and the quality of life that I seek and that, hopefully, is reached by everyone around me in my education and that I meet.

I was once off course but have found new ways to be creative and not the victim … being able to make a difference in someone’s life … and staying on course in order to reach my own desired outcome in life.

And that is why I chose the Criminal Justice program at Mountain View College as my degree program.

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Find a Great Career Fighting Crime

If you read last month’s eNews, you know that demand is high for law enforcement professionals, despite the tough economy. If you’ve always dreamed of a career fighting crime but didn’t know where to start, check out DCCCD’s Criminal Justice program.

Studying Criminal Justice can prepare you for a wide range of careers that’s limited only by your commitment and drive to succeed! Depending on your skills, interests and education, you could consider a career as a police officer, correction officer, constable, FBI or CIA agent, drug enforcement officer or U.S. marshal.

Cedar Valley, Eastfield and Mountain View colleges all offer two Criminal Justice associate degrees as well as three certificates for college credit. In addition, Cedar Valley and Eastfield offer state-certified Basic Peace Officer training through their Continuing Education Divisions.

Get started in the Criminal Justice program today!

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Get the Scoop About Hot Occupations

Learn about hot career fieldsEven with the economy in a downturn, certain career fields not only have job openings but are experiencing very strong growth. In fact, according to ABC News, the difficult economic situation itself has in some cases directly created a need for skilled workers in certain occupations — such as bankruptcy specialists.

With more than 100 occupational programs and academic subjects, plus a wide range of continuing education classes, DCCCD is a great place to get training for a new job, enhance your current skills for a promotion and begin the educational journey toward a successful career.

By doing a little reading and research, you can identify occupations that are and will be in demand, find one that’s right for you and prepare for it with a DCCCD education. According to government statistics and industry experts, some of the strongest career fields right now include:

  • Accountants, financial advisors and other business experts – These days, everyone wants to know how to get the most out of their money, and businesses need employees who can manage limited financial resources skillfully.
  • Auto mechanics and repair technicians – When the economy’s down, more people choose to get their cars repaired than to buy new ones — which means they need skilled, knowledgeable mechanics and technicians.
  • Construction workers – While demand for new houses will probably slow down, President Obama’s economic relief efforts may result in new jobs in the construction arena.
  • Creative types – Multimedia artists, graphic designers and other creative occupations will be in high demand, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Education professionals – Demand remains high in the education field for a wide range of jobs, especially preschool teachers.
  • Health care workers – Nurses, X-ray technologists, paramedics, nurse’s aides and other health care professionals are always in need.
  • Information technology professionals – Love computers? Then you’re in luck. Software engineers, database administrators and other IT professionals will be in high demand over the next decade.
  • Law enforcement specialists – An unfortunate side effect of the economic climate is that crime rates are rising, which means there’s a need for trained law enforcement workers.
  • Office workers – Expect strong demand for skilled secretaries and administrative assistants in the next few years.

Do a Little Research

Want to know more about the labor market and which occupational fields are growing? Check out these links to get started:

  • Job Opportunities in 2009 (video) – ABC News’ Tory Johnson forecasts the job market for the new year.
  • Top Jobs in 10 Industries – CNN.com and Career Builder identify some fields worth investigating and the top jobs in each.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook – This publication of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information about hundreds of different jobs, including the training and education needed for each, what you can expect to earn and potential job prospects.
  • Tomorrow’s Jobs – This section of the Occupational Outlook Handbook provides an overview of the labor market that can help guide your career plans.
  • Resources for Jobseekers – View information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on occupations, benefits and other work-related topics, or find a job using the highlighted job banks.
  • Lifetime Earnings Soar With Education – About.com: US Government Info looks at the difference education can make in your earning potential.

And don’t forget that as a DCCCD student, you can take advantage of the many services offered by our Career Centers, including individual career counseling, computerized career guidance programs, resume assistance and much more.

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Student Success Story: Howard LaMunion

Howard LaMunion says, “I wanted to be a police officer since I was about eight, growing up in upstate New York. I liked the way that police officers helped people and put the bad guys in jail.”

Because his father disapproved of his dreams of a law enforcement career, Howard built a successful career in marketing instead. But he never forgot his childhood career ambitions. Eventually he applied to the Dallas Police Department, was accepted and went to Eastfield College’s police academy pre-qualified.

“Later in my career was the perfect time to do it,” he says. “You have a higher level of maturity and life experience, which is a plus for the police department.”

Howard says, “The top advantage at Eastfield was the instructors. They’re all former police officers as well as former leaders — sergeants, lieutenants, detectives — who bring a level of police department discipline to the training.”

Howard graduated from Eastfield College’s Criminal Justice Training Center in January 2007 and joined the Dallas Police Department as a reserve patrol officer, fulfilling his lifelong dream.

Could you be the next success story?

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