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An Education In Criminal Justice Has Benefited A Chicago Special Agent

William Harmening is the chief special agent for the Illinois Securities Department and commands a cadre of special agents who investigate allegations of securities fraud in Illinois. Harmening also serves as an adjunct professor of both criminal justice and forensic psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis. Harmening offers some great insight on how education can help to not only further your career but attribute to your overall success.

(Photo courtesy of William Harmening)

What is your background of your experience in the Criminal Justice field?
"I have a team of special agents that investigate allegations of securities fraud, seize criminally derived assets and participate in the prosecution of those charged. My unit has successfully investigated cases involving millions of dollars in securities fraud. As a professor and writer, my areas of specialty are forensic psychology and criminal behavior. I am the author of seven books, including four published textbooks on the subjects of criminal behavior, crisis intervention, forensic psychology and serial killers."

What inspired you to go into this field?
"I was inspired by the police officers I met and observed as a young person. I was always so impressed by their professionalism and sense of duty. When I was discharged from the U.S. Army, I decided to enter a professional field where I could continue to serve the public."

How has your education attributed to your overall success?
"It has broadened my understanding of people, especially those who choose to commit a crime, as well as those who are victimized. My education has provided me with the knowledge and tools necessary to properly analyze a problem, and to then develop an appropriate solution. It has provided me with the analytical skills and credibility to be entrusted with important program development responsibilities."

What advice can you offer others looking to go into this field?
"The Criminal Justice field is extremely competitive, and almost all opportunities now require some amount of college. Additionally, young people should look for opportunities to learn through programs such as law enforcement explorers and police cadets. Many departments also now have auxiliary and community service opportunities."

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

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