bachelor’s degree in criminal justiceIf you’re turning to Grantham University to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, then you’ve come to the right place. At Grantham, you can expect to receive an education from highly skilled professionals with years of real-world law enforcement experience.

One of the University’s Criminal Justice faculty members, John Wagner, has over 33 years of law enforcement experience and a strong passion for service. Previously, Wagner served in the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department; the Orange County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department; the U.S. Air Force Reserve (Security Forces) and the U.S. Marine Corps.

Today we’re providing some insight to Wagner’s law enforcement experience and advice for those interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a law enforcement career of their own:

Grantham University: What brought you to Grantham University?

John Wagner: In my former job with the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department (I am now retired), I was assigned to become an instructor at our Regional Police Academy. While working in that assignment, I came to realize how much I truly love teaching. At that point, I went back to school and completed my education. I am a retired [military] veteran, and when I found out the work Grantham is doing with veterans, I had to become a part of the bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program. I applied and here I am!

GU: What do you like most about being a Grantham faculty member?

JW: [I like] the interaction with adult learners, but more than that, with the military students who attend Grantham. I see it as a way to serve those who serve us (Americans) every day. In addition, the interaction with them is incredible. Recently, I [connected with] a student of mine who is a Marine infantryman serving in Afghanistan. What an experience!

GU: How do you offer support for your students?

JW: First and foremost, communication. From day one of a course, I communicate my expectations to my students and provide them with tools weekly that help them with their written assignments, as well as additional learning opportunities. I provide my students with my personal cell phone [number] and encourage them to call me any time, day or night, to discuss any issues or concerns they may have.

GU: How does a degree from Grantham help students accomplish their goals?

JW: A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can not only give students the knowledge [they need] to excel in their chosen field, it will also give them the confidence to stand above their co-workers. Also, the communication skills, both verbal and written, achieved through the degree process will continue to serve students in the workplace, again ensuring their success.

GU: Do you have a research focus, and if so, can you give us some highlights of your work?

JW: My master's degree is in criminal justice with a focus on terrorism. Along those lines, I was selected to be part of a group that developed a course for the U.S. Naval College, and ultimately for instruction to law enforcement nationwide. The course was to be designed to present law enforcement with a general overview of terrorism and suggested tactics for law enforcement to use when dealing with this issue that has been pushed to the forefront of society.

The Kansas City, Mo., Police Department’s Patrol Tactics for the Prevention and Deterrence of Terrorism was born. Ultimately, the course was presented to Congress and is being used by law enforcement agencies across the country.

In addition to [this] course, I have been involved in the development of a Terrorism Liaison Officer course, also in concert with the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department’s Homeland Security office. The course embraces the concepts taught in the Tactics course. However, it takes the attendee to the next level where they can [use] their knowledge in the community and develop a “team” of citizens who, through education, become involved in the recognition, reporting and deterrence of terrorism in our community.

Beside those two courses, I have been involved in the development and instruction of numerous law enforcement courses across the Kansas City metro.

GU: Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about going back to school?

JW: Do not hesitate! Besides the advantages one gets from a formal education, the knowledge, research, problem solving and communication skills one develops through the degree program will not only assist a person professionally, it will improve their personal life. As I always tell my students, make the decision to get your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and stay the course.

GU: What are you most passionate about? What motivates you in life?

JW: Naturally, my family is my primary focus in my life, but beyond that, I have a true passion for my brothers and sisters in blue.

My passion is two-fold. First, [I want] to get the message out that our law enforcement [officers] are our protectors and should be honored. Next, I truly love developing the next generation of law enforcement. I am privileged to get to do this through my position at Grantham. I have a lot of real-world law enforcement experience, and I do my best to pass that experience on to my students.

GU: What do you think is the most interesting thing about you?

JW: I enjoy reading early American history pieces. I keep honey bees, and I have a couple "hot rods" that I have built from the ground up.

GU: Do you have a tip that could help the type of students taking your classes?

JW: Never allow failure to be an option, especially with your education. Everything else will fall in place if you live by this credo.

Earn Your Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice at Grantham University!

Interested in learning from an experienced professional like John Wagner? Then contact us today for more information about the bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program!

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