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Learning Center Experience
Robyn A. Kapperman, Kaplan University College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Law Enforcement – Protector and Social Worker Are Just a Few of Its
In my career path, it was a
challenge to narrow down the various applicable jobs. Many years ago I was a
law enforcement officer in a couple different states. The misconceptions at
that time seem minuscule in comparison to the isolated incidents seen in recent
years. I have always had a strong desire to help people. I also thought there
would be “more action” on many of my assigned shifts. I soon discovered that
the television shows we watch may have exaggerated on how quickly a crime can
Part of the job required being a something
like a social worker. You are often placed in tense situations with the public
and with the victims of multiple types of crimes. I had a college degree in
criminal justice that provided me with courses that explored human nature along
with how the criminal justice system worked. Prior experience combined with the
educational background served me well. Many aspects of the job was satisfying.
Solving a crime and ensuring the person was held accountable for a crime,
especially if they were a danger to society, was extremely gratifying.
Transitioning to a Public Safety Civilian Job and Some Clarified Some
Misconceptions Along the Way
Today, I am a member of the United
States Coast Guard (USCG) Reserves and have been in the reserve program for
almost 29 years. It was a natural fit to
gravitate towards a USCG civilian job. I started to apply for multiple Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) federal civilian jobs, predominately utilizing the USAJOBS website. I had multiple interviews
and was actually offered jobs from numerous different agencies. I selected the
offer from the USCG.
This position has cleared for me
some of the public misconceptions concerning federal civilian jobs. For
Another misconception or myth concerning federal
civilian jobs is once you are in the door you are “golden.” Civilians are
evaluated and have assigned duties alongside, in my case, the active-duty
Some have the misconception the Coast Guard
predominate focus is search and rescue but they are a valuable department under
DHS, maintaining the safety and security of the maritime domain. I also serve
as the executive secretary of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Area Maritime Security Committee
(AMSC). Assisting the port partners in training, especially emphasizing cyber,
and sharing best practices is one of many examples that make the job a unique
and satisfying experience.
Building Upon Education and Prior Experience as a Key to Success
My master’s degree (criminal justice
and public administration) and doctorate (Doctorate in Business Administration
specializing in Homeland Security) along with my prior experience have provided
me with the tools to succeed in my current position as a Port Security
Specialist (PSS) at the USCG District 8 office.
I also have the opportunity to utilize
a risk analysis model that is mentioned in the course I have been assigned to
teach at Kaplan University (HM 502: RISK, VULNERABILITY, AND CAPABILITY
ASSESSMENT METHODS). Education and experience have prepared me for responsibilities
in my professional career, such as:
Looking back on where I began in law enforcement
into my current civilian role, I can say
it’s been a journey that I have continuously prepared for as I built and
leverage my skills and experiences. Both
professions may have public misconceptions, yet both are fully gratifying in
responding to a calling to serve and protect.
Dr. Robyn A. Kapperman is a faculty member at Kaplan
University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the
author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
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