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From the Frontline to the Front of the Class

For 20 years Gregory Jonas taught the finest officers in Wisconsin how to handle their weapons as a firearms instructor.

Now, as an instructor at Bryant & Stratton College Criminal Justice program at the Bayshore campus, Jonas’ classes are slightly less intense.

“I love getting people this knowledge and letting them know about the justice system,” Jonas said. He is especially excited to see non-criminal justice majors in his classroom who simply want to know more about the system.

“We see them all the time and the information in our classes connects them not just to police work but to nurses, social work, counseling. These classes transpose into lots of other areas of the college and other professions,” he said.

Jonas is a retired police officer who served on the force in Wisconsin for 22 years. Prior to that he worked as an officer for eight years outside of Houston, Texas and served just over four years in the Air Force as a law enforcement specialist.

Moving from the front lines to the front of the class room was “not a big jump,” Jonas said since much of his time on the force was spent training officers to handle weapons. Jonas also served as a D.A.R.E. instructor and crime prevention specialist. He spent a lot of time giving lectures to children of all ages regarding stranger danger, gang activity and the dangers of using drugs.

He said the difference between teaching officers and college students is often the desire to learn.

“When you are teaching in service they are there because they have to be there and sometimes they don’t want to be,” Jonas said. “With students, they want to be here. They’ve paid money to be here. So there is a little bit of a difference.”

Jonas said he enjoys the atmosphere of academia and has earned two Master’s Degrees from the University of Wisconsin, in public administration and criminal justice. He began teaching at Bryant & Stratton in 2005 and retired from the police force six years ago.

It’s easier to name what courses Jonas doesn’t teach rather than those he does. Students will find him at the helm of many of the criminal justice program’s courses throughout the year.

Jonas said one of his favorite classes is criminology, which explores the theories of crime.

“I like to look and delve into why people commit crimes,” he said. “I did research in grad school and I have all sorts of theories of criminal behavior.”

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