My College Experience

There has never been a time in my life when I thought that I would be content without a college degree.  From a very early age I knew that I wanted to work in some kind of state or federal law enforcement.  Those particular jobs require at least a bachelors degree.

After I graduated high school I enrolled at Cleveland State Community College (CSCC) in Cleveland, TN.  I spent two years there and successfully completed three semesters.  I did not graduate.  In the spring of 1998 I joined the Navy and was able to complete a few college level classes while I severed on the USS Louisiana, a ballistic missile submarine.  By the time I had completed my 8 years in the Navy I had amassed around 100 or so college credits.  I didn’t think much more about college for a few years.

In the fall of 2007, after working at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office for nearly a year, I was assigned to a local elementary school as their School Resource Officer.  Working with numerous highly educated teachers gave me the push that I needed to re-enroll into college once more.  So I chose to apply to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  This was a bit of an experience.  While the instruction at UTC was good, their customer service and the advisers were a little lacking.  I was not impressed.  I managed to complete several more hours there before getting tired of the 45min, one-way, drive every afternoon.  I once again quit my pursuit of a college degree.

After a year or so the degree bug bit again and I started looking for a college to go to.  I researched online schools and any other school that would allow me to earn my degree at an accelerated pace, most of which cost more than I was willing to spend.  I began hearing advertisements on a local radio station for Bryan College’s Adult Studies program and after speaking with several recent graduates of the program I decided to apply.

I submitted my application in the fall of 2010 for a January 2011 commencement date.  Before I ever received my letter of acceptance a counselor was calling me to invite me to orientation.  I expressed my concern that I hadn’t received a letter yet and I was told to not worry about it and just show up.

Since the first night of class I have had nothing but wonderful experiences with Bryan College.  The tuition is very reasonable and the work is manageable and practical for immediate implementation.

If you are even remotely considering going back to school to finish your degree I highly recommend giving Bryan College a call.

Where Were You on September 11th, 2001?

Where were you?

I was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on board the USS Louisiana, SSBN-743 Gold.  The USS Louisiana is a fleet ballistic missile submarine.

I can’t even begin to tell you what it was like to be at sea when something like this happens.  It was nearly two months before I was actually able to see images of what had happened.

Our world really did change on that day.

So, where were you?  What is your story?

Trooper Joe Snipes, Tennessee Highway Patrol

Yesterday we lost a friend and fellow officer of the law.  Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Snipes was killed in an off-duty motorcycle accident in Bradley County Tennessee.  Even though we didn’t hang out while off-duty, I considered Joe a friend.  I had several occasions to work with Joe on vehicle wrecks where I either assisted him or he was assisting me.  He always offered whatever help or advice he could and he was always very appreciative of the help he was given.  Even when frustrated he always treated me with respect.

The one thing that I will remember about Joe is that he rarely complained.  I remember pulling up to a crash on I-75 on one particular occasion.  A storm was coming in and it was bringing heavy rain with it.  As the rain began to pour down Joe just looked at me and said, oh well, this is what the State pays me to do.  He took his job serious and was always there to ensure the safety of the motoring public through enforcement.

I heard a talk-radio journalist read the headline about the accident this morning.  It went something like this, Just because your a law enforcement officer doesn’t mean accidents don’t happen to you.  That isn’t a direct quote but it was something to that affect.  I took offense to it.  No one ever said we were perfect.  We, as law enforcement officers, are human just like everyone else.  We make mistakes and, at times, our lives are cut short just like everyone else.  We just try to do our part to make this place a better and safer place to live.

As we head in to this Labor Day weekend and as we soon begin to reflect upon the emergency workers that were lost ten years ago on September 11th, 2001, lets remember that our law enforcement officers are just trying to do their part.  Thank an officer, medical person or firefighter when you see them and remember Trooper Snipes and his family.  Keep them in your prayers, especially his wife Sheila who was taken to the hospital due to the injuries she sustained as the passenger of the motorcycle they were riding.