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CWC offers programs to empower future leaders in criminal justice

Buckrail | Central Wyoming College

CWC offers programs to empower future leaders in criminal justice

Students sitting outside CWC Jackson

WYOMING — Central Wyoming College‘s (CWC) comprehensive programs in Criminal Justice provide students with a variety of education opportunities, including flexible learning options, courses in leadership and law enforcement training focused on ethical practices.

In an era where the understanding of criminal justice is evolving rapidly, CWC stands as a guiding force for individuals aspiring to make a difference in law enforcement, corrections and juvenile justice.

“Our criminal justice program has a focus in both criminal justice and pre-law that provides students with so many possibilities for their future, ” Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Kathleen Tilton said. “We prepare students for the workforce so they have the knowledge and skills they need to be successful after they graduate and go to work.”

Profile Photo of Kathleen Tilton
Associate Professor, Kathleen Tilton.

With campuses across Wyoming including Jackson and Riverton, CWC offers a robust Criminal Justice program designed to equip students with essential knowledge, critical thinking skills and ethical decision-making abilities.


Comprehensive Curriculum: Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders

At the core of CWC’s Criminal Justice program is a curriculum that takes a close look at the entire legal system.

“We have a very in-depth and balanced curriculum that focuses both on the law enforcement side of criminal justice as well as the court and legal side,” Tilton added. “The curriculum isn’t just being taught out of a book but by professionals — attorneys and police officers — who bring their own real-life experience and knowledge to the classroom.”

Profile Photo of Michelle Weber
Jackson Hole Police Chief, Michelle Weber, works as an adjunct professor

This educational approach places a strong emphasis on cultivating critical thinking, ethical decision-making and effective problem-solving and communication skills. Drawing from multiple disciplines such as sociology, law and political science, CWC ensures a well-rounded educational experience for its students, aligning with the ever-changing complexities of criminal activities.

“Learning critical thinking skills, effective problem-solving and communication skills will make you a better police officer, but it also helps you to be more successful in life,” Jackson Hole Police Chief and CWC adjunct professor Michelle Weber said.

Nurturing Leaders in Law Enforcement Leadership

CWC’s commitment extends beyond traditional criminal justice education with its Law Enforcement Leadership option. Designed for those in criminal justice and law enforcement organizations, this program provides opportunities for professional and personal development. The curriculum fosters practical and active learning strategies, encouraging growth in individuals and teams.

“Our program ensures students gain a comprehensive understanding of leadership,” Director for Bachelor of Applied Science Degrees Dr. Lael Noonan said. “We cover the foundations of leadership, effective management, power dynamics and self-assessment. Students learn to lead change, build teams and empower others. They develop their own leadership models, problem-solving skills and continue to grow as leaders.”

The Law Enforcement Leadership option is part of the Organizational Management and Leadership Bachelor of Applied Science degree. With a minimum of 120 credit hours required for completion, including 30 general education credit hours and 40 upper-division coursework hours, the program offers a comprehensive and practical approach.

Current law enforcement professionals can leverage Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) and Law Enforcement Academy courses to fulfill some program requirements, showcasing CWC’s commitment to accommodating the unique needs of its students.

Recognizing the diverse needs of students, CWC goes beyond traditional education. The Criminal Justice program at CWC offers flexible learning options, including in-person,  online and hybrid classes.

Whether residing in Jackson, Riverton or elsewhere, individuals can access quality education and advance their careers in criminal justice. This adaptability allows students to tailor their education to fit their schedules, making it accessible to those with work, family or other commitments.

Through these formats, students can engage with course materials, participate in discussions and collaborate on projects, all while enjoying the flexibility of remote learning. This approach not only accommodates the demands of modern lifestyles but also prepares students for the evolving landscape of digital communication within the criminal justice field.

CWC offers various pathways within its Criminal Justice program to provide students with specialized options that match their career goals.

  • Corrections Option (Certificate I): Tailored for corrections with a focus on critical thinking and ethical decision-making
  • Law Enforcement Option (Certificate I): Designed for aspiring law enforcement officers, emphasizing foundational skills
  • School Resource Officer Option (Certificate I): Geared towards those interested in school resource officer roles, emphasizing critical thinking
  • Criminal Justice Cert II: Prepares for entry-level positions in the dynamic criminal justice environment
  • Associate of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice: Provides flexibility, emphasizing interdisciplinary skills

For more details, visit the official college website.

Proven Benefits: Elevating Law Enforcement through College Education

CWC proudly highlights the proven advantages of a college education for law enforcement officers. Extensive research indicates that officers with college degrees experience fewer citizen complaints, face fewer terminations due to misconduct and are less likely to use force.

“We have very highly-qualified faculty that bring a really strong combination of experience and balance to the table, both from the legal side in the courtroom to the law enforcement side, so students are receiving a very well-rounded perspective of criminal justice,” Tilton said.

Support Services and Financial Aid: Fostering Success

Recognizing the challenges of higher education, CWC provides extensive support services, including tutoring and counseling, to its students. Eligible students may access financial aid and scholarships, ensuring that aspiring criminal justice professionals can pursue their education without unnecessary barriers.

As the demand for ethical and educated criminal justice professionals continues to rise, CWC remains steadfast in its commitment to providing resources and shaping the leaders of tomorrow.

Career Paths: Building a Future in Criminal Justice

CWC Criminal Justice program provides diverse career paths for individuals pursuing criminal justice education. Graduates can embark on various rewarding professions, including: Public Safety, Juvenile Justice, Corrections, Victim Assistance, Law Enforcement, Crime Prevention, Loss Prevention, Court Administration, Trial Process and Research and Policy Making.

Transfer options to four-year colleges or universities are available, opening doors to advanced career opportunities in the criminal justice sector.