Morristown, N.J. (February 12, 2015) – "Police officers are more academic and tech savvy now," says Keith Hudson, a Detective with the Morristown (N.J.) Police Department and a CSE student. "Having my bachelor's in justice studies is my way to keep up with the changes."
But for Keith, this also was a personal quest – he wanted to finish the degree that he started 17 years ago at the County College of Morris. Keith had previously attended County College of Morris, earning his associate's degree in 1999. He began his criminal justice career as a corrections officer at a state prison in Clinton in 2003. In 2005, he applied for and was accepted to the Morristown Police Department.
"CSE gave me the flexibility of completing the bachelor's with online courses," he says. "As the PBA (Police Benevolent Association) State Delegate for my department, I had to go to a convention last September in Florida while I was still doing classwork. So I had my laptop and my notes and sat in my hotel room, looking at the ocean and doing my work. That kind of flexibility makes all the difference to an adult student."
But Keith discovered also that he likes the face time of a classroom. As one of two police officers in his senior seminar class and the senior ranking officer, he finds that his experiences on the job as a Detective for the Morristown Police Department contribute to the discussions with his fellow students.
"We are all getting the academic background, but in some cases, I have the experiences that apply," he says. "As much as the online courses were great for flexibility, the classroom time is my favorite type of learning."
His supervisor, Stuart Greer '11, also got a bachelor's through the Continuing Studies program in Justice Studies at CSE. He is now enrolled in a master's program through Cambridge University (U.K.) in police administration.
"Stu encouraged me to sign up and complete the program," he explains. "Since I had an associate degree already, it would only take me about 16 months – a long 16 months!"
But Keith is doing very well with a 4.0 GPA. He also received the 2015 Student Academic Leadership award, conferred by the CSE Alumni Association in February 2015.
While he does not have immediate plans to continue after receiving his bachelor's in December, he is not ruling out additional education in the future.
"I really enjoyed being in the classroom," he says.
As a postscript – there are two people out there who are very glad that Keith takes his job and his academics very seriously. One is a young lady who, in her despair, tried to run into heavy traffic. Keith and his fellow officers were able to stop her and get her back to the hospital for treatment. The second was a construction worker who had a heart attack and was saved by Keith and his colleagues.
"I went to see him the next day and he had no memory of the incident," says Keith. "I was just very relieved that he was OK."