Interview with Skagit County Sheriff Rick Grimstead: 36-year Veteran State Trooper and Sheriff Provides Career Overview and Tips on How to Become a Successful Law Enforcement Officer

Sheriff Rick GrimsteadYou have been Skagit County Sheriff since 2003.  How did your career path lead to law enforcement and how has your career evolved?

My father was in law enforcement where he retired as Captain in the Washington State Patrol and so I was exposed to law enforcement growing up. I attended and graduated from Washington State University in 1967 with a degree in History and Physical Education with the intention to become a teacher. But then I went into active military service in Vietnam where I flew the CH-46 helicopter on 600+ combat missions. I was shot down several times but fortunately never injured. I spent six years in the Marines as a pilot and then remained in the reserves thereafter until I retired as Lt. Colonel. After my active military stint, I returned to Washington, but then considered a career in law enforcement. I both applied to the FBI and also became a cadet in the Washington State Troopers in 1973. (more…)

Interview with Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo: The Value of a Criminal Justice Degree in Law Enforcement, Law Enforcement Career Tips and the Challenges of Managing a Border County

How long have you been a Sheriff?

I have been Sheriff since January 2003.

How did you get into law enforcement and how did your career evolve?

My interest in law enforcement was first sparked when I became a member of a Police Explorer post at age 16. I joined the Florida Department full-time when I turned 19 and was the youngest officer ever hired by the agency. I worked my way through the ranks and retired as a Captain/City Prosecutor to accept the position as Director of Public Safety/Police Chief in 1996. I remained in Blaine until assuming the position of Whatcom County Sheriff in 2003. (more…)

Interview with Skamania Sheriff Dave Brown: How a Criminal Justice Degree Can Help Your Law Enforcement Career and Other Important Law Enforcement Job Tips

How long have you been a Sheriff in Skamania County?

I have been Sheriff for 8 years.

How did you get into law enforcement and how did your career evolve?

I started volunteering with the fire department in 1979 as a teenager. After the eruption of Mt St Helens (which is in Skamania County) there was big effort to do salvage logging in the blast zone. This supported EMS services with fees from that effort due to expected logging accidents. So, from 1982-1987, I was an EMT in this location. At that time, there were five deputies working the red zone. In working with them, I became interested in their job. Eventually, I went to Clark community college and then Washington State University and studied Criminal Justice. I eventually finished my degree while working. In 1987 I started as Deputy Sheriff in Skamania and served as a patrol deputy for nine years. In 1996, I moved to the detective unit until 1998. Then I was promoted to Chief Criminal Deputy – supervising patrol and detectives. I served in that capacity until 2003 when I was elected Sheriff of Skamania County. All tolled, I have been with the Skamania County Sheriff's office for 23 years. (more…)

Interview with Veteran Sheriff Frank Rogers: Insights and Advice on a Law Enforcement Career

On September 28th, 2010, Criminal Justice Degree Schools interviewed Okanogan County’s Sheriff Frank Rogers on his successful law enforcement career that spans over 25 years as a Sheriff, Sergeant, Investigator and Patrol Officer.  The goal in this interview series is to get expert input for CJDS readers who are considering a Sheriff’s Deputy or Police Officer career to help answer if and how to become a law enforcement officer.

Sheriff Frank RogersCriminal Justice Degree Schools:

How long have you been a Sheriff in Okanogan County and how did you get to your current role?

Sheriff Rogers:

I have been in law enforcement for almost 27 years and I have been Sheriff of Okanogan County for almost 8 years.

Criminal Justice Degree Schools:

How did you get into law enforcement and how did your career evolve?  

Sheriff Rogers:
When I was growing up I always wanted to be a cop and in 1984 I got my start. I started my career with the City of Okanogan as a patrol officer and in 1986 I transferred over to the City of Omak where I worked for 17 years, 15 of those years I was a Sergeant for the Police Department. (more…)

Facts About Tasers: An Infographic

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Infographic by Criminal Justice Degree Schools

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Police Sheriff Interview: Sheriff Mark Nelson Shares Advice on How to Become A Sheriff’s Deputy and Challenges and Changes in the Profession

On August 23rd, Criminal Justice Degree Schools interviewed Sheriff Mark Nelson of Cowlitz County, Washington to learn first hand about a law enforcement career and what it is like to be the elected Sheriff and head of Sheriff's Office. This is the first of a series of such interviews, as we believe that those looking for a career as a sheriff's deputy or police officer career will learn from those making hiring decisions. Topics covered include the value of a post-secondary or criminal justice degree and tips to improve your odds of getting hired. (more…)

Interview with a Litigation Paralegal

We were very fortunate to have the author of Paralegals on Trial take time out of her busy schedule to provide insights into her work as a litigation paralegal.

1. Why did you decide to pursue a career as a paralegal?

I was working as a legal staffing coordinator placing paralegals and attorneys. As I started to understand the position, I caught the legal bug myself. I continued to work full time but attended classes at the local community college at night. I graduated after just two years in the program and was lucky enough to find a job right out of school working in a small, plaintiffs litigation firm. (more…)

Interview with a California Motor Cop

We had the great privilege of talking to the author of, who shared his insights on working as a motor cop and also some advice for prospective police officers.

Can you tell us what activities you spend most of time on when on duty?

I'm a motor officer, so my day is primarily made up of monitoring for vehicle code violations and responding to investigate traffic collisions. Traffic enforcement is my main function, but when the beat cops are busy and calls start stacking up, I'll answer up for calls for service or cover my beat partners on their details.

What aspects of your job do you like the most and the least?

What I like best about my job is the fact that I get paid to ride a motorcycle. I've been riding since '94 and I still shake my head sometimes when I get to work and realize I get paid to ride. Additionally, traffic violations have always irked me, so to get to write tickets when I see a violation is simply icing on the cake. (more…)

Interview on Starting A Police Career With Peter Moskos, Author of Cop in the Hood

Today we have the great privilege to talk with Peter Moskos, a HarvarCop in the Hood bookd-trained sociologist who became a police officer in Baltimore’s roughest neighborhood and wrote a critically acclaimed book about his experience titled Cop in the Hood. He is currently a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Why did you decide to become a police officer?

I became a police officer to learn about policing and police officers. I went in expecting to quit so that I could return to Harvard to get my PhD. And I did.

What was the greatest challenge that you faced in the process of becoming a police officer and how did you overcome it?

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