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Paul Brentar (left) and James Falk of the Charlotte Police Department are just two of the OC Criminal Justice Professional Degree Program students.

An accelerated pathway to a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice? Check.

Online classes? Check.

Designed for working professionals? Check.

The Olivet College Criminal Justice Professional Degree Program explores the strategic procedures and leadership skills needed for managing local and government law enforcement resources. And, it’s truly tailored to working law enforcement professionals with flexible class schedules and personal relationships with OC faculty.

Sergeant Paul Brentar has been a police officer for nearly 20 years. He was apprehensive about furthering his education, but when he learned of the OC Criminal Justice Professional Degree Program’s format, his outlook changed. He will finish the program this month.

“I didn’t really choose the program; the program kind of chose me,” Sgt. Brentar said. “My chief of police, Lisa Sherman, went back to Olivet a few years ago to get her degree and attended traditional classes like any other student.

“Dr. Regina Armstrong, associate professor and criminal justice program director, then came up with the program and since she knew Lisa, the word was spread to those of us who did not have our bachelor’s degrees. The ease of the online format made it an easy choice to enroll in the OC program.”

Lisa Kirby, an officer of the Lansing Community College Police Department, echoes a similar sentiment.

“I made the choice to invest in me so that employers would do the same,” Officer Kirby said. “The Criminal Justice Professional Degree Program is something that I am proud of and no one can take it away from me — it is earned. You become more prepared for leadership roles. Knowledge is power and this degree prepares you for all aspects of the criminal justice field.”

Both Sgt. Brentar and Officer Kirby note exceptional experiences in the program.

“The most beneficial part of the program is that it is all online. Police officers have crazy schedules and truly never know when they will be working or not,” Sgt. Brentar said. “We can be called in at a moment’s notice or have court appearances that we must attend. The fact that I can go back to school and complete my work when it is convenient for me is immeasurable. If not for this program, I would not be going to school to get my degree.”

“The staff at Olivet College treat you like family,” Officer Kirby added. “The professors bend over backward to see that you are clear on the expectations and respond to your questions within hours, sometimes minutes. The classes are incredibly interesting and challenging. As Dr. Armstrong says, ‘If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.’

“I have grown personally and professionally as a result of this program. I have made connections with other police officers throughout the state. I don’t know a law enforcement professional that doesn’t love a challenge! I am so grateful that I made the choice to enroll.”

Learn more about the Olivet College Criminal Justice Professional Degree Program by contacting Regina Armstrong at rarmstrong@olivetcollege.edu or 269-749-7710.