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“I think back to when I was in your shoes so many years ago, and to the opportunities and challenges,” says Bill Reilly, a former captain and assistant chief in the Hartford, Connecticut Police Department and the more recent founder of Finest’s a private company that provides professional development for law enforcement professionals.
On a late-spring day at the end of last term, the students in the Senior Seminar of the Nichols Criminal Justice Management program took in Reilly’s insights about the law enforcement field. He was the last in a semester-long series of guest professionals who provided the nearly two dozen seniors with a veritable lineup of the career possibilities available to them.
The presenters included Colonel Marian McGovern, the head of the Massachusetts state police, as well as chiefs and officers from local police departments.
But the seniors also heard from the general manager of private security company G4S Secure Solutions, the loss prevention director of Staples North America, and the operations manager at Massachusetts General Hospital, who noted that his job involves supervising dozens of security officers and managing safety and security for up to 70,000 hospital visitors a day.
“The idea behind this series was to expose these seniors to different professionals in the field of private and public law enforcement, and I wanted to make sure that these students saw the private side of security management,” explains Professor Kimberly Charbonneau, the chair of the Criminal Justice Management program and a former state trooper in Rhode Island.
As for landing a position in the public or private sector, Finest’s Reilly had this advice. “The focus has to be on (your prospective employers) and not on you. You need to explain why you are the best person to fill their vacancy and that they’re going to get better with you on the team.”
Aracadio Gonzalez, who just graduated in the class of 2012, adds that coming face-to-face with professionals in the field was not confined to the Senior Seminar, but extended over the four years of the Criminal Justice Program. “Professor Charbonneau has brought in federal marshals, FBI agents, correctional officers, and private investigators,” he explains. “And the list goes on.”
“I wanted my students to be able to network with these professionals,” adds Charbonneau.