Captain Bob Bromage has worked in law enforcement for 27 years. He’s served in the Army, worked as a homicide detective, and functions as the Beaufort sheriff’s public information officer. He’s got an associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and attended a local leadership program in 1996 and the FBI national academy at Quantico in 2008.
And he thirsts for more.
So now Bromage has enrolled in Anderson University’s Master’s Degree program in Criminal Justice at the Lowcountry Graduate Center. He knows it will be a grueling couple of years, particularly with a full-time job, an 11-year-old daughter at home and the short trip to North Charleston each month. Still, that’s a lot more convenient than traveling to Anderson, four hours away.
Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner suggested Bromage consider the program and he jumped at the opportunity. “If you’re going to hold a management rank you’ve got to seek out higher education,” he said.
Only a couple of weeks into the semester, his head was spinning with new ideas and insights. His first two courses – Research Methods and Crime, Law & the Legal System – relate directly to his dual role as the cold case detective and PIO. For example, he says, he has learned to access research methods and resources that would help his department apply for grants.
The Master’s in Criminal Justice at the LGC is a hybrid course of in-class learning and online coursework that is specifically designed to prepare participants to move up to middle management or senior executive positions within criminal justice entities ranging from police departments to state and federal law enforcement to corrections facilities.
In the crime and law course, Bromage says, the class is discussing conflict theory and sharing perspectives. The give-and-take with fellow working professionals in law enforcement is as valuable as the coursework, he says. “People have confronted similar problems and can offer solutions,” he said.
Police work is more complex than ever. Law enforcement must deal with the symptoms of societal problems and understand their root causes in order to address them. As one example, Bromage notes, people struggling with drug addiction and mental illness commit petty crimes, landing them in jails now bursting at the seams as a result. Many law enforcement professionals recognize that the way to keep drug abusers and people with mental illness from committing petty offenses and filling up jails is for local communities to provide mental health services. This mix of sociology and criminal justice requires educated law enforcement personnel.
Bob Bromage believes enrollment in the program will rise as word gets out. His boss supports higher education generally and the master’s program specifically for his personnel. “It will help the agency,” Bromage said. “It’s great that they brought it down to the Lowcountry. I’m happy to be part of the program.”