Fall graduate Louis Hutchinson is pursuing a career in law enforcement at Ohio University | Team Cansler

Louis Hutchinson will be earning his Associate Degree in Applied Study in Law Enforcement Technology from Ohio University this fall. He is also pursuing bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and communications, all on the Ohio University Lancaster campus, and plans to graduate in the spring.

Hutchinson began his college career in the social work program at Columbus State Community College but transferred to OHIO in his sophomore year. His mother, who attended Ohio University and took classes on both the Athens and Lancaster campuses, encouraged him to look into OHIO Lancaster.

At OHIO Lancaster, Hutchinson serves as President of LET Us Help, the student service organization for the Law Enforcement Technology program, and he serves as the Sergeant at Arms for the campus chapter of Alpha Phi Omega.

Hutchinson said being a part of LET Us Help has refined his ethics of service and community involvement.

“I’ve always wanted to help people,” Hutchinson said. “It’s what I’ve wanted to do my whole life. Every time I see someone in need I will do whatever I can to help them.

What are your next steps or plans for the future?
I keep my options as open as possible. I’m mostly looking for local law enforcement, but I’m also considering becoming a state trooper. I also look at other areas, like federal law enforcement.

Why did you choose an Associate Degree in Law Enforcement Technology at OHIO Lancaster?
My interest in law enforcement began at a very young age. I knew I wanted to do something in law enforcement, but I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. And it really started in my hometown of Upper Arlington. I met a student aid officer who was a close friend of mine for many years and he was a former SWAT officer and a detective for Fairfield County. He kind of got me thinking about a career in law enforcement. I went on a few rideshares. After high school, I knew I still wanted to be a law enforcement officer. I was trying to figure out how else I could get into that particular area.

What was your aha moment at Ohio University – that point where you said to yourself, “I got this!”?
I struggled a lot, but once I got into the program here at OHIO Lancaster, it all kind of clicked and it kind of made sense.

I have attempted to enter law enforcement from a social work perspective in order to understand how people function and to learn how to help people from different individual groups. And while I love the knowledge I gained from it, I felt that the Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Technology program was much more my thing and more directly related to what I would learn at the police academy and what I do too would learn for my career. When I started this program, I knew it would give me all the resources I needed to be successful over the long term. That’s what really drew me to this program.

What were some of your favorite courses?
I was really a big fan of Professor James Stevens’ Police Operations course. Even though it was online I really felt very involved in the course and it helped me learn about police behavior and interactions as well as different types of equipment law enforcement officers use.

Another course that really helped me and really interested me was Sonja Rawn’s Forensic Science course. It was a really great, really interesting course and I really learned a lot from your course.

Also, any class you take with Lisa Taylor will be enjoyable.

Who were your favorite professors and how have they influenced your life?
Lisa Taylor, Sonja Rawn and James Stephens

What was the toughest hill you had to climb in OHIO (not counting Jeff Hill)? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles on your way?
It really takes a lot of time management skills and I won’t lie to you, I’ve struggled with my time management skills here and there. It’s not easy to juggle (work, commute and school). I am a member of two honor societies, two student organizations and three different courses. Also, I work from just eight hours a week to 60 hours a week. It’s tough and challenging, and it’s really hard to juggle. But I’d say if you’re good at managing your time there’s absolutely nothing you can’t do and I just kind of managed to learn that.

Probably the most difficult part was the slow transition into a criminal justice major. I really like criminal justice majors, but socially it’s a really tough time doing this type of major. It’s a really tough time wanting to be a cop and it’s a really tough time being a cop. I know along the way I’ve gotten a lot of backlash from students saying, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you’re doing this. Why do you want to do that?” But at the same time, there’s also a pretty good support group that I have within law enforcement and within the faculty here, and some of the students that are here are like, ‘No, you’re doing the right thing. Keep going. We need people like you, especially in times like these, to go out there and do a difficult job. So please don’t give up.” And that really helped.

How did your OHIO education prepare you for a career in law enforcement?
The program has really pushed me in the right direction by allowing me to be a more attractive candidate compared to people who may not have completed the program. Of course, the associate degree before the bachelor’s degree is also very helpful and makes you more attractive to people who want to hire you.

What tips/advice do you have for other OHIO students interested in studying law enforcement or criminal justice?
Follow your heart. Try to stay away from outside forces and people who might say, “That’s not a good idea. You shouldn’t do it.” At the same time, you really want to be open to advice. Take as much advice as you can, but don’t listen to the critics. Stay with the program. It’s a great program and just look to the future because that’s really what motivated me.

If you are thinking of becoming a police officer and would like to advance in this career field, do this degree program, associate degree program, bachelor’s program and go on from there.

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