The Criminal Justice program has gained a new instructor this year—Stephen Shannon, a long-time police officer looking to impart his knowledge on the next generation. He dove straight into work at CPAVTS, and has been enjoying every minute of it! Mr. Shannon took some time to talk about where he’s been and where he plans to go in his new career:


What did you do before coming to work at Cumberland Perry AVTS?

“I was a police officer for Washington Township Police Department for 12 years.”


What made you decide you wanted to teach?

“I come from a family of teachers, and I taught a little while I was at the police academy. I loved the feeling I had when someone who I was teaching got it, when it clicked and you could see the lightbulb go on and they knew what they had to do. I wanted to be an influence on the next generation of officers and teach them integrity, professionalism, and generally make them good public servants.”


How has your experience been so far?

“I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve received from teachers and staff in transitioning into this role. It’s been a good start. I’ve enjoyed the actual teaching, interacting with students, and I enjoy their enthusiasm. They’ve been energetic and invested in the program.”


What part of the curriculum are you looking most forward to teaching?

“Some of it I’ve already taught! I really enjoy the fingerprinting projects, because you can see the students learning since they have to work with physical fingerprints. I’m also looking forward to putting them into critical thinking situations where they have to make tough decisions—choices that affect someone’s freedom, or that could save someone’s life. I’m just looking forward to them getting into learning interpersonal skills and developing their critical thinking.”


What’s the most important thing you hope to impart on your students?

“Men and women in this field are desperately needed, but only to the extent that they can have integrity and be effective in their job. One of the things we’ve talked about [in class] is how our program is different since we work with people at the worst of times. I want them to be able to relate to people, whether it’s comforting someone experiencing loss or being firm with a suspect who is being uncooperative.”