Becoming a police officer was a lifelong dream of Sergeant Marla Schrank. After receiving her B.A. degree from Dordt College in 1988, she began a career with the Sioux Falls Police Department. Sergeant Schrank has served many roles in the department, including a patrol officer, field-training officer, assisting with the D.A.R.E. program, and currently supervising school resource officers.
"It's a very rewarding career," says Schrank, who added that any life experience or basis of knowledge you have coming in makes you a better officer. "We're social workers, dealing with family fights, abused kids, you name it."
That's why she recommends criminal justice education that blends a general base of knowledge in law, sociology and communication. Though a college degree is not a requirement to apply for positions in the Sioux Falls Police Department, an excess of qualified candidates has allowed the department to set high standards and be very selective.
"A four-year degree shows employers you're committed to something and willing to apply the work you need to do it well," said Sergeant Schrank. It also enables applicants to achieve the written test scores needed to rise to the top of the applicant list.
"It's a career where a Christian can struggle, because you see so much," commented Sergeant Schrank. "But the reward of returning lost children to their homes, or arriving at a doorstep and seeing someone sigh with relief—that's what makes it all worthwhile."