The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree that Daniel Swear earned online from Louisiana State University of Alexandria has served him well. And now the veteran law enforcement officer is ready to serve in a different capacity.
Once he graduates with a Master of Public Administration from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in summer 2017, Swear plans to enroll in law school at Southern University in Baton Rouge and eventually trade in his badge and gun for a briefcase and a healthy dose of jurisprudence.
“I’ve always had a calling to help people,” Swear said. “I’m also a 10-year member of a nonprofit organization, Friends Helping Kids, Inc., that works with special kids. So, I center my life around outreach and the ability to help people. Based on my education and my personal abilities, I feel law school is a feat I am capable of accomplishing so I can help people on a different level.”
Swear said he is still thinking about what area of law he will pursue as his future career.
“The reason I got my MPA is because I wanted to have a working knowledge of the things governmental organizations should do to stay within their legal and ethical boundaries,” he said. “I don’t know what opportunities there are to work within that specific field. It’s kind of up in the air right now … maybe a civil rights lawyer centered on representing government employees for unjust adverse employment action.”
Purple & Gold Standard
Swear, who is originally from Terrytown, Louisiana, was already working in law enforcement when he earned an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice from LSU Eunice. He didn’t skip a beat, going straight to the LSUA online program to complete his bachelor’s degree in May 2015.
“I wanted to stay in the LSU system if I could,” he said. “If I had known that I could have started and finished at LSUA, I would have probably just started there from the beginning and run all the way through to my bachelor’s degree.”
However, Swear knew when he started school that he was not planning to stop with an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree.
“I started looking at criminal justice programs within Louisiana at schools with physical campuses,” he said. “When looking at it and doing some research, it just seemed like LSUA was a good fit, so I decided to apply there.”
The online format proved to be ideal for Swear and his busy schedule as a patrol officer in the Gretna Police Department near his hometown. He now works in the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office, south of New Orleans.
“As far as the physical legwork of completing assignments, you can do that around your schedule,” Swear said. “The only issue I ever had was that certain classes would only allow quizzes to be completed at certain times. Until recently, I’ve worked nights my entire career as a patrolman. It was very hard to complete some of my quizzes at the times that were specified. I made it work. The teachers — especially if they know you’re taking online classes because you have a full-time job — are very easy to work with, for the most part.”
The coursework in LSUA’s bachelor’s degree online program came fairly easy to Swear since he already had so much experience in the field.
“Honestly, I had been living that degree program for five years prior to getting the actual piece of paper,” he said. “I had been there, done that.”
Swear followed in the footsteps of his father, D’Wayne Swear, who was a career federal agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In an instance of art mimicking life, his dad’s career forms the basis of a Hollywood story, though the episodes are not based on actual cases.
“In the television show NCIS New Orleans, Scott Bakula plays the character Dwayne Pride,” he said. “The show is based on my dad and his time as the NCIS agent for this area and for the Southeast region. He loves it.”
Swear is happy he has the background and experience to springboard him into the law profession.
“I knew I was going on to get a master’s degree. At the time, I didn’t know about law school, but I knew I was going on to get a higher degree that would give me the opportunity to do other things.”
Swear, who enjoys riding his motorcycle, kayaking with his wife Shelby, and pretty much any outdoor activity, helps Friends Helping Kids, Inc., put on a camp and various other events for special needs kids throughout each year. One of the reasons he decided to move on from law enforcement is because he felt he was capable of helping people beyond his current capacity.
“In my general geographical area, the vast majority of Law Enforcement agencies are not bound by any civil service or union representation; therefore, there is rarely a process of competing for advancement. he said. “A young employee with a high level of education is sometimes viewed as a threat to upper level managers with lesser educational accomplishments.”
Still, Swear said the B.S. in Criminal Justice from LSUA is effective in preparing students with the knowledge and discipline needed to become a law enforcement officer.
“I would say it’s necessary to have the maturity to refrain from procrastinating in order to get your work done,” he said. “The institution treats you like an adult by affording you the opportunity to obtain a degree online. They expect you to do the legwork yourself, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you do the work so you can get the most out of your degree program.”
In other words, due diligence is key.
Learn more about the LSUA online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program.
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