Dr. Wayne A. Johnson is currently employed as an Associate Professor at Harper College in Palatine. He is the program coordinator for the Law Enforcement and Justice Administration Program and the Forensic Science Program. He offers some great insight on how his educational background in Criminal Justice has led to the overall success in his career.
Why did you feel the need to further your education in the Criminal Justice field?
“In 1989, I was a detective and finally working a day shift. Nobody in my family had ever finished college. So, I got my bachelor’s degree and then my master’s in Criminal/Social Justice. In 1990, there was an especially brutal double murder in Uptown that stuck with me the rest of my career. The department sent me to profiling school, thinking it could help with the case, and I ultimately ended up teaching that topic for 15 years. That led to getting a doctorate in education and I did my dissertation on homicide training, which tied law enforcement and education together.”
What is the most common misconception when it comes to a career in Criminal Justice?
“There are a lot of police officers who haven’t had to get a degree, so some young people think that an education has no bearing on your success in Criminal Justice. But having degrees and credentials is becoming more and more important for hiring and promotional purposes.”
How do you feel education has helped you achieve your overall success?
“My education emphasized intelligence, tenacity and commitment. It opened up so many doors and led to my roles as chief investigator for the Chicago Crime Commission, Suburban Police Chief and now a college department chair and teacher.”
What advice can you offer to others seeking a career in Criminal Justice in terms of obtaining an educational background?
“I tell my students every day that they need to embrace learning and plan on becoming lifelong learners if they’re going to keep up. Police officers are going to continuously find themselves in the classroom due to all of the advancing technologies and higher promotional standards.”
Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.