Jeffrey Wendling (’71) visited campus on Thursday to advocate the expansion of ACU’s criminal justice major.
Wendling was the first person to graduate ACU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. The programs has existed for more than 30 years, drawing in students and educating them to go on to various careers, in federal, state and national job positions.
He talked with students from a political science class focusing on terrorism studies, joined the political science department for a Departmental Chapel and at lunch with a select few criminal justice majors to talk about jobs in the federal government.
While talking to students, Wendling’s main goal was to express the importance of Christ-centered persons in the police service and criminal justice areas of employment.
“Having Christians in law enforcement, I’m telling you, it’ll change the whole paradigm of what we do and how we do it,” he said. “When you take leaderships courses, the practical aspect of a Christian view on how you lead people, how you how you interact with them, how you talk to them, and visit with them, is much different for us as Christians than it is for other that don’t share our faith and our core values and how we see the world.
He said the federal government work requires some sort of a degree, with many positions requiring a masters, but the police service is different. Wendling said the effect of this is more police officers being immature. To add to the problem, he said police officers aren’t paid enough for all they do.
He said Christian workers in the field bring another level of energy and honesty to police forces.
Neal Coates, chair of the Department of the Political Science, brought Wendling to campus to enforce that point within the major.
“We really feel called not just to put out people in the political area, or the bureaucratic arena, or city managers, but our department also wants to really help put out people in law enforcement and criminal justice fields,” Coates said. “We’ve got such a good program, and we want people to know.”
He agreed with Wendling on the importance of Christ-followers within the police positions.
“People who are Christians, who are in law enforcement, are a cut above in the service they provide, in the protection that they give to neighborhoods, and to states, and even our national government,” Coates said.
Wendling also enforced the importance of appreciating ACU’s Christ-centered community.
“When you take the opportunity as time goes on, to reflect through everything,” he said. “You’ll see the graciousness of our giving Lord and how he protects us, and how there’s no equal.”