Sauk Valley Community College’s new assistant professor of criminal justice is living the dream. Jon Mandrell, who takes the reins of Sauk’s criminal justice program this fall, was always torn between his love of police work and his love of teaching. Now he is fulfilling both dreams.
Mandrell, of Polo, is a six-year veteran of the Oregon Police Department and was an adjunct at Sauk, taught criminal justice courses part-time before taking the position full time. Mandrell said his love of teaching is spurred by the high level of interest students have in criminal justice.
“I love meeting with the students because their interest in the field is so high,” said Mandrell. “I like reinforcing that their career dreams can become a reality.”
Mandrell started as a patrolman, worked to achieve the rank of corporal, and was promoted to night shift supervisor. Being particularly interested in working with juveniles, he specialized in juvenile matters. Mandrell helped initiate a number of after-school programs and summer events, and he helped open up new lines of communication between children and parents. As an adjunct instructor at Sauk, he also worked to help start practicums, ride-alongs, and internships for students interested in the field.
After attending SVCC, Mandrell transferred to Western Illinois University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement. He returned home to begin his police career in Oregon and later continued his education by earning a Master of Arts in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration from WIU, while going to school and working full-time. Mandrell has several goals for the College’s already-successful criminal justice curriculum.
“Most importantly, I want to give students that academic side to the criminal justice and law enforcement field,” says Mandrell. “I want to concentrate on giving students the education that our local police departments expect as well as university program and outside agencies.”
Mandrell adds that he wants to add more courses that are intensive on probation and parole, and, that he will stay on top of technical advances, keep up with online curriculum, but will not lose contact with students by keeping face-to-face interaction with students as much as possible. In addition, Mandrell plans to revitalize the college’s criminal justice club this fall.
With a solid professional and education background and a successful growing curriculum in both traditional and online course offerings, Mandrell will bring a new level of interest to Sauk’s criminal justice program. What’s more, Mandrell says there are opportunities in the field despite the economic downturn.
“Even in tough economic times, the criminal justice field is a solid, reliable field where there will always be a need,” he said.