Technical colleges produce leaders in law enforcement

by speitz10. November 2011 10:53

Whether a new recruit or a seasoned veteran, many of Wisconsin’s law enforcement officers are graduates of the Wisconsin Technical College System, including Moraine Park Technical College. More than 50 community police chiefs in the state received their initial training through a technical college and continue their education in specialized short-term courses.

“Moraine Park was certainly a great starting point for me in realizing what I wanted to do for a career,” said Dean Schmidt, who serves as the Chief of Police in Slinger. “The education I received was beneficial for giving me an understanding of what is involved in law enforcement. Completing an associate of applied science degree opened the door for opportunities in this field that I would not have otherwise had.”

Schmidt also added that he is a big proponent of continuing education and stresses to his officers to continue with education.

All 16 Wisconsin technical colleges offer some courses in Criminal Justice either online or in the classroom. Currently, 6,620 students are enrolled in Criminal Justice programs throughout the state, and 1,265 students graduated from Criminal Justice programs in 2010. These grads find jobs as police officers, sheriff’s deputies, conservation officers, security officers, correctional officers, public safety officers, detectives, security supervisors or dispatchers.

In addition to becoming heads of law enforcement agencies, technical college graduates also become leaders in corrections.

Moraine Park alumni Tina Beres and Holley Dornfeld are paving the way for women by their success in the traditionally male-dominated field of corrections. Beres is a correctional officer at Washington County Jail, and Dornfeld works in records at Waupun Correctional Institute.

Moraine Park was an important start for both Beres and Dornfeld. The Criminal Justice - Corrections associate of applied science degree gave the women a solid foundation to be confident on the job site. “Moraine Park’s program was so hands-on and seemed very real,” said Dornfeld. “It’s amazing how highly Moraine Park’s program is valued in this area.”

Another example is Mark Wildman, a 1996 graduate of Moraine Park Technical College who is the deputy warden at Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Fond du Lac. Wildman, who went on to earn several other postsecondary degrees while gaining valuable experience in the correction system, has enriched the lives of many individuals as a mentor, counselor and teacher. He says it wasn’t until he arrived at Moraine Park that he discovered his passion and realized what a difference he could make in the lives of others.

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