Columbia College–Lake County faculty focus - Samuel Lopez, criminal justice instructor

A new instructor will be teaching at Columbia College–Lake County this fall. If you are thinking about taking CJAD 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice, take a few minutes to learn more about Samuel Lopez:
1)      Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Waukegan, Ill. After graduating from high school, I moved to Chicago where I began my college academic studies. I moved several times before settling in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

2)      What degrees do you hold, and where did you earn them?
I obtained a Certificate of Achievement in Criminal Forensic Investigations from Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety in Evanston, Ill.; an Associate in Applied Science in Law Enforcement from Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Ill.; a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind.; and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, Mich. At MSU, I also earned graduate certificates in Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysis, Homeland Security and Security Management. In addition, I earned a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Criminology from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, Mass.

3)      Tell us about your teaching experience and work history.
For more than 25 years I have taught a variety of classes and in-service training courses to emergency medical technicians (EMT), paramedics, military medical personnel and police officers. I initially became involved in teaching by becoming an EMT and paramedic. While working in emergency medical services, I taught one to three day courses in CPR, advanced cardiac life support and basic and advanced trauma life support. I was also involved in the medical corp in the U.S. Air Force as an in-service instructor and aeromedical evacuation crew member (flight medic) aboard the C-130 aircraft. In 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, I was placed on active duty for almost six months in the Middle East during Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Provide Comfort. 

Later on I became a part-time auxiliary public safety officer with the Rosemont Police Department. It was there that I became an instructor in defensive tactics, expandable baton, PR-24 baton and OC Spray defensive tactics. I continued my career in law enforcement when I became a full-time police officer with the Des Plaines Police Department. For the past 13 years, I have continued to teach law enforcement as an in-service instructor for my police agency. Along with teaching, I also work as a SWAT crisis negotiator, a juvenile officer and an evidence technician in the Patrol Division.

4)      What do you most enjoy about teaching?
I enjoy teaching motivated students who want to learn by asking questions and applying learned theory to practical situations, scenarios and experiences.  I also enjoy educational discussions on current criminal justice related events, and what changes can be made to upgrade current criminal justice procedures and improve law enforcement policies. My hope is that when my students complete their education and succeed in their chosen profession, they would be willing to return as adjunct instructors so they can help others succeed educationally as well.

5)      What advice do you have for students taking your class this March?
Set educational goals that are realistic. Pace yourself in completing your assignments on a daily basis. Don’t wait for the last minute. Your assignments, quizzes and exams are a reflection of how much you care about the class and your education.