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Learning Center Experience
Sergeant Chris Gavette
is an adjunct professor in Kaplan University’s Criminal Justice Programs. He currently teaches CJ316 (Investigating
Cybercrime) and CJ499 (Bachelor’s Capstone in Criminal Justice).
Chris Gavette is not
only a Kaplan University professor, but in many ways he also plays the role of
a teacher in his full-time job as detective sergeant at the University of
Central Florida (UCF). He is a mentor in every sense of the word, whether he is
in his Kaplan University virtual “classroom” or on the UCF campus. He makes it a priority
to always lead by example and provide guidance to those around him.
In fact, his management style is so admirable
it recently earned him a nomination for TASER and PoliceOne’s first-ever RISE
Awards in the “Leadership” category. Frank Imparato, an officer at UCF who
works under Sgt. Gavette’s command, submitted the nomination based on their
experience working together over the last few years.
One incident when
Officer Imparato says Sgt. Gavette truly stood out as a leader was in the early
morning hours following St. Patrick’s Day in 2013. At the time, Officer
Imparato was a rookie who had only been on the UCF police squad for two years.
Officer Imparato and Sgt. Gavette were responding to a 911 call from a student
who said his roommate had a gun and was planning a campus attack.
recalls his nerves tingling as he was en route to the dorm where the students
lived. However, he says it was with Sgt. Gavette’s support that he managed to
remain calm and take charge of the situation. Within minutes of receiving the
call, the two had broken down the gunman’s door. Later upon a search of the
gunman’s computer, Sgt. Gavette discovered the gunman had researched police
response time and had concluded he had about 18 minutes to carry out an attack.
Due to Sgt. Gavette and Officer Imparato’s quick response, the gunman hadn’t
had enough time to take action on others. In the end, the gunman only had time
to take his own life and Sgt. Gavette and Officer Imparato likely saved many
innocent students’ lives that night.
To Officer Imparato, it’s in situations like
the one from that frightening morning that Sgt. Gavette demonstrates relentless
“I remember thinking, ‘we’re good, we’re going
to get out of this together,’” said Officer Imparato.
According to Sgt. Gavette, he was both
surprised and gracious to hear that he is a finalist in the RISE awards. To
him, the greatest part is that the nomination came from Officer Imparato.
“It was such an honor to be nominated. The
fact that I was recognized from the bottom, as opposed to the top, means so
much to me. I value the people I work with and the people around me,” said Sgt.
Sgt. Gavette takes a
lot of what has made him a successful leader in the police force and builds it
into his teaching practices at Kaplan University. After years of building
relationships and trust with members of his police squad, interacting with his
students is like second nature.
“I like the fact that Kaplan University
students’ backgrounds tend to be a little more diverse as far as education and
experience goes. It forces me as an instructor and practitioner to stay
relevant with current events and topics so the classroom experience, especially
in the digital environment, is fresh, unique and engaging,” said Sgt. Gavette.
“I like to show my students how the information in class can be used in real
It seems the two jobs he chose couldn’t have
been a better fit. More often than not, both worlds merge and he finds himself
using the knowledge and experience from one and incorporating it into the
“You’d be surprised how
many times my students teach me something new,” he says. “I can take what they
teach me and bring it back to my career. And at the same time, I can share with
them my firsthand experience in law enforcement. It’s kind of a tit for tat
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