Instructor brings law enforcement experience into the classroom
“Knowing you’ve made a difference for so many students is rewarding,” says Greig Thomson, who coordinates the RCC Criminal Justice program.
Over the years Thomson has helped prepare thousands of students for careers in criminal justice systems. “They’re working in jurisdictions from municipalities to the federal level including the FBI, homeland security and Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco. They’re everywhere,” he noted.
Criminal justice student Matt Kruger appreciates how Thomson “brings elements of real life into the classroom from his long history in law enforcement. “It’s really cool and gains him respect and makes for a relaxed, open class with lots of interactions,” Kruger said. “Greig’s also a great advisor and mentor. He’s helped me plan out my career…and bring everything together.”
Thomson earned an associate’s degree from Greenfield Community College and his bachelor’s in criminal justice and master’s in criminal justice administration from Northern Arizona University. He joined the RCC faculty in 1997 after teaching 20 years at institutions including Western New Mexico University and Southwestern Oregon Community College.
“Students are definitely the most enjoyable aspect of teaching,” Thomson said. “The subject of criminal justice is so full of complex issues, and it’s especially exciting in the classroom where students’ opinions and ideas make issue come to life.”
Criminal Justice student shows juveniles road to redemption
Matt Kruger is helping youngsters in the juvenile justice system become productive members of society. “I am exactly right where I wanted to be when I came back to school,” Kruger said. “I love my job, and I couldn’t be happier.”
A student in the Criminal Justice program at Rogue Community College, Kruger also works full time as a detention center group counselor with the Jackson County Community Justice Juvenile Division. “Even if I help just one I’m happy,” Kruger said.
Born and raised in Medford, Kruger graduated from North Medford High School and bounced around at a lot of minimum wage jobs. Most recently he worked as a gas company technician. “I really liked that job, but it just wasn’t where my heart was at,” Kruger said. “I felt called to work with youth,” he said. “I have good rapport with teens and the patience and ability to deal with even the most unruly kids,” said Kruger, who is also a youth minister.
Kruger’s wife, already an RCC student, encouraged him to enroll at Rogue, and three years ago, he made the leap. Now they’re both full-time students, working and raising their 9-year-old daughter, Alex.
Kruger, who is completing an associate’s degree, plans to transfer to Southern Oregon University to pursue a bachelor’s in administration. “I want to help put good ideas in place,” he said. “Financial aid, loans and RCC Foundation scholarships have been a blessing,” he said, and
Kruger appreciates “all the great teachers” he’s had, particularly Criminal Justice instructor Greig Thomson. “RCC has given me a solid foundation,” Kruger said. “Classes are very tough with some heavy duty assignments, but the instructors definitely make it enjoyable.”
When putting his training to work, Kruger says seeing repeat customers is the most challenging aspect of his job counseling juveniles.
“The biggest thing is to have patience. I tell them I would love to see them all get out of the justice system, the criminal element and lifestyle — and become taxpayers.”
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