Criminal justice is a field of many opportunities, especially in the Detroit area (and certainly not just because of our "big city" crime). With a head-spinning number of possible jobs that fall into this market, scores of young individuals are setting their educational sights on attaining a degree in criminal justice. While the majority of these folks will be awarded bachelor's degrees from universities, some pursue advanced degrees, providing for a tantalizing and exciting employment landscape.
Grady Emmons, MSc, CPP, is owner and director of Precision Risk Management Group. He has an 18-year professional history working in Detroit and other areas throughout southeast Michigan. Emmons obtained his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Saginaw Valley State University, and pursued a master's in law enforcement intelligence and analysis from Michigan State University soon after. You can find more information on Emmons at prmgroup.biz.
What is the most relevant aspect of your education that applies to your current day-to-day job?
"The most relevant aspect to my everyday job is the background I have received in criminal behavior/psychology. I often provide hostile termination and executive protection services, which involves conducting a threat assessment on various subjects. Understanding the behavioral cues that indicate a higher likelihood of violence allows me to provide better services to my clients."
What are the first steps towards starting a career within the criminal justice industry?
"In most cases, having at least a bachelor's degree is really the key to getting into higher positions. For example, a bachelor's degree is required for a special agent position in federal law enforcement and I've met few in corporate security who didn't have one as well. The current job market definitely favors an impressive education. A four-year degree is a good qualification that is desired by most, and a graduate degree is even better. Other skills that make a candidate stand out are a successful tour in the military or law enforcement."
Do you have any advice for someone starting out in criminal justice?
"The biggest thing that I would change if I could go back, and the advice that I would give to younger individuals seeking positions in the private sector, is to make networking a priority. I spent a lot of time cultivating a successful background of experience, education and credentials at the expense of networking. I would have spent a lot more time getting involved in organizations, volunteer activities and other opportunities to meet people and network. In this business, as in most others, who you know is just as important as what you know."
Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at Examiner.com.
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