Student Spotlight: Online Law Enforcement Education Offers Jail Deputy Options

3 min read
USD LEPSL online law enforcement education

Jillian Robards grew up in the San Francisco Bay area but discovered her passion for the field of law enforcement during an internship as a community center officer at UC San Diego. She did a stint in Los Angeles before returning home to work as a jail deputy in Marin County. Jillian is currently continuing her law enforcement education at the University of San Diego where she is working towards her Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership.

Why did you decide to pursue the Master’s of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety?

I always wanted to advance my education. I felt like it was the right time to get my master’s — before I go back to patrol. In my current job, I have some downtime to study so I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. With the USD law enforcement classes being taught online, I’m able to continue my job and go to school at the same time.

Ultimately, I want to implement what I have learned to help my department implement strategies to confront the challenges it is facing.

Why did you choose University of San Diego for your advanced degree?

USD offered better incentives than some of the other schools in terms of a tuition reduction. The school is ranked well and the law enforcement and public safety curriculum was relevant to my needs. USD was also very responsive when I had questions, helping me throughout the application and enrollment process.

Why do you think education is important for police officers and those in law enforcement positions?

I think modern age policing is definitely changing. The field today is more oriented toward community policing. I feel that it is important for law enforcement leaders to be educated and knowledgeable on current social and political problems. I believe ethical leadership involves educating yourself on how to effectively address law enforcement issues. And education is a huge part of that.

What do you like best about the online Law Enforcement Master’s degree program so far? Is there anything you would change?

I have only been in the law enforcement education program at USD for five weeks but so far there is nothing that I would change about it. The workload is definitely manageable and the online component means I am able to access school from anywhere I go. I can always be working on my schoolwork no matter where I am. Having 24/7 access and not having to commute —it saves me time and money

Curriculum wise, it’s not just theoretical. This program is a little more practical when compared to other master’s degree programs I considered. The instructors inspire you to think about the new and upcoming issues that law enforcement is going to face and how, as a leader, you are going to deal with those issues.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering pursuing a Master’s Degree in Law Enforcement and Public Safety?

Education never hurts. Whenever you are competing for a promotion, higher education will be an asset. Plus, in California, you can get POST certified at a more advanced level and get your pay bump faster if you have a master’s degree.

If your department offers tuition assistance and the school you are considering will offer tuition reduction, furthering your education is a really smart idea.

This program at USD is geared toward developing leaders. If you want to change policy and have a greater impact in your department and community, this degree is perfect for you.

The University of San Diego accepts students on a rolling basis in the Fall, Spring, and Summer for admission into the 100% online M.S. in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership degree program. If you are interested in continuing your law enforcement education and advancing your career in public safety, consider speaking with a USD admissions advisor to learn more.


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