Shortly after arriving at Blinn College in 2006, Long Le was advised to choose a course of study.
With no future plans in mind, the Houston native examined the list of offerings one by one, hoping a program would pique his interest. It was Blinn’s Criminal Justice Program that caught his eye.
Still unsure of his choice, Le enrolled with an open mind and was not disappointed. Within the first semester, Le made the decision to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“There are a lot of people who have grand stories about why they became police officers,” he said. “I truly just went with what interested me. I was looking for an exciting career – something that was different every day and gave me a sense of service. I am a first-generation American and became the first police officer in my entire family thanks to Blinn’s Criminal Justice Program.”
Throughout his time in the program, Le said he most enjoyed interacting with dedicated, professional faculty and guest lecturers. Blinn’s Criminal Justice faculty average more than 20 years of field experience in all major areas, using their decades of hands-on experience to inform students about a variety of local, state, and federal careers.
“It’s a strength of the Criminal Justice Program to have such a tremendous amount of experience among our faculty,” said Robert Stanberry, Program Coordinator. “There are many different options in Criminal Justice for those seeking to serve their community.”
With tracks designed for the traditional classroom or online, Blinn offers Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science, and Law Enforcement Technology degrees in criminal justice, as well as a Criminal Justice Corrections certificate. Students who complete the program are eligible for a variety of local, state, and federal careers, including law enforcement, investigation, corrections operation, corrections counseling, a variety of court positions, government administration, and probation. Similar careers also are available through private companies.
With plans to become a police officer, Le took advantage of yet another element of the Criminal Justice Program – Blinn’s Police Academy, a unique partnership between Blinn and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Central Texas Police Academy. Attending and successfully completing the 18-week police academy allowed Le to not only receive his Basic Peace Officer Academy Certificate, but also earn 20 college credit hours to be applied to his associate degree in the Criminal Justice Program.
Upon graduation, Le put his education to work as a police officer for the College Station Police Department (CSPD), the same agency where he served as an intern during his final semester in the program. The College Station Police Department maintains a strong relationship with Blinn College and other surrounding institutions, and offers several internship opportunities for students seeking academic credit. The semester-long internships provide a hands-on learning experience in a particular field of interest, and facilitate opportunities for students to receive training outside the classroom.
“Everything Long underwent is what makes our program successful,” Criminal Justice Professor Janet McNutt said. “He pursued a criminal justice degree, gained valuable experience during his internship, and earned college credit and a Basic Peace Officer Academy Certificate by completing the TEEX Central Texas Police Academy. He participated in everything that the program offers.”
After eight years on the police force, Le was promoted last year to recruiting coordinator for the CSPD, where he is in charge of bringing in new officers to the department. The new position, he said, allows him to actively participate in the community – which includes visits to Blinn’s criminal justice classes – in an effort to attract professional, capable employees.
“I feel like I truly can make a difference,” he said. “This is a fast-growing area, and we are always in need of good police officers to join us. I am responsible for every new officer that comes through our doors.”
CSPD currently is accepting applications for the entry level and certified police officer positions. For more information, visit the City of College Station Human Resources webpage.
For more information on Blinn’s Criminal Justice Program, visit www.blinn.edu/twe/crimjustice.
Story courtesy of Blinn Communications