Policing research guides ASU criminal justice graduate

December 11, 2017

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2017 commencement. See more graduates here.

Quin Patterson aspires to a career in federal law enforcement. His professors believe he's well on his way. Patterson was selected by the Arizona State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice as the fall 2017 outstanding graduate.The San Diego native earned his undergraduate degree in criminology and criminal justice with a certificate in security studies. Quin Patterson Quin Patterson is the fall 2017 outstanding graduate of the ASU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Download Full Image

“I see law enforcement as sort of an extension of public service and the kind of service that I was doing back in high school,” said Patterson, a former Eagle Scout. “I feel like it’s a good way to leave a positive impact on my community and our nation.”

Patterson chose ASU for the chance to be part of Barrett, The Honors College. It helped that ASU also had a top-ranked criminology and criminal justice program.

A highlight of his time at ASU was working on a police body-worn camera study with criminology professor Michael White. Patterson used the study as the basis for his Barrett thesis.

“He started out doing more basic tasks like having officers fill out surveys and doing some data entry,” said White. “But, we quickly moved him onto more graduate-level work just because of his skill set — he was that good.”

“It was a no-brainer for me to nominate him for this award,” White said.

One of the biggest takeaways for Patterson was the differing perceptions police and citizens have over what a body-worn video camera picks up and what it doesn’t.

Q. What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in? 

My “aha” moment when I realized I wanted to study criminal justice came as a result of being in Boy Scouts and watching crime shows in high school. Being an Eagle Scout, I’ve always felt a sense of service to my community and the people around me, and I view law enforcement as a form of service in that sense. Watching crime shows initially got me interested in criminal justice, but it was because I knew that what was shown on TV was for entertainment and I wanted to know the real reasons behind why people commit crime and how law enforcement agencies deal with offenders.

Q. What's something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

Something I learned at ASU that changed my perspective is that there is always more to learn, and there is always a better version of yourself that you can strive to be. What’s important is that you surround yourself with people who support you and can help push you to become that person you strive to be.

Q. Why did you choose ASU?

I chose ASU because of Barrett, the Honors College, and the kind of experience I knew it would be able to provide for me. As soon as I first visited the Downtown Phoenix campus, I knew this was where I wanted to be, and I was impressed by my interactions with faculty from ASU and Barrett, what with all the information they provided and how helpful they were. ASU is also far enough away from San Diego where I feel like I can truly be on my own, but it is also close enough where I can go home just about any time I wish.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

The best piece of advice I’d give to those still in school is to take this experience slowly, one step at a time, and also make sure to set aside plenty of time for yourself. College flies by faster than you think; it still doesn’t feel like I’m two weeks away from graduation, I keep thinking I’ll wake up in my dorm room for the first day of freshman classes again. As stressful as college can get sometimes, there are always people that can help you get through it, and sometimes it’s easier to set everything aside for an hour to get some rest or clear your head.

Q. What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

My favorite spot on campus for studying is the courtyard between the NHI buildings, and if I’m meeting up with friends I like to sit outside Fair Trade Café.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I am going to spend the spring in San Diego, then come back to ASU in the fall to begin my Master of Science in criminal justice. Once I get my MS, I hope to go into law enforcement, preferably at the federal level.

Q. If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

If someone gave me $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, I’d try to tackle global warming. Obviously $40 million wouldn’t be enough to solve that problem but I feel like it would be enough to help make progress in a positive direction.

Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions


ASU emergency management graduate helps develop next generation of leaders

December 11, 2017

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2017 commencement. See more graduates here.

Robert Rowley didn't exactly take the traditional route to college. In fact, you might say he has never had a “traditional” college experience. Robert Rowley Headshot ASU graduate Rob Rowley. Download Full Image

“My family didn’t have the money for me to go off to school or venture across Europe after graduation. I worked out of high school full time, got burned out and joined the U.S. Army at 20. I did that, got hired to law enforcement, got married and went on with life,” said Rowley.

He may not have taken a traditional route to Arizona State University, but now at age 46, Rowley is the fall 2017 outstanding graduate of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

During his stint in law enforcement in his native California, Rowley decided he wanted to go for his bachelor’s degree. He found an online program and would often chip away at coursework late at night while stuck in the car on patrol.

It paid off, though. Rowley made his way up to deputy sheriff, and that’s where he stumbled into the world of emergency preparedness through coordinating search and rescue work in northern California.

Rowley had a knack for it, and when an emergency manager position opened up 2006, he went for it even though it was a profession still in transition following 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Eventually, his role expanded, and Rowley exited law enforcement to stay with his newfound job.

After moving to Arizona, Rowley began eyeing the Maricopa County emergency management director position. It was expected to open up within a few years, and he began exploring options to make himself a prime candidate. That included earning a graduate degree.

A friend told him he might be eligible for a Post-9/11 GI Bill, so he looked into it and discovered he still had two years of eligibility left. With the discovery of ASU’s emergency management and homeland security master’s degree program in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions and online class flexibility, Rowley decided the ASU was the perfect fit.

The twist in the story is the Maricopa County position opened up a short time after he started his degree, and Rowley got it. Once the degree was unnecessary for immediate career advancement, it took on new meaning.

“I started working with Dr. Gerber, and we began looking into how we could create pathways into the profession for graduates,” Rowley said. “My final project was to create a disaster response exercise that students can complete as a team — give students relevant experience to help them in the real world. Help them interview for these jobs.

"We need younger generations coming in who have fresh perspectives and a passion for the field. Helping them prepare for real-world jobs is the best thing we can do,” he said.

“We’re very happy to recognize Rob with this award,” said Brian Gerber, director of the Emergency Management & Homeland Security program in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. "Rob is a key figure in the Arizona emergency management community, and he exemplifies a commitment to public service.”

ASU's emergency management and homeland security program is aimed at practitioners throughout the nation. Gerber says graduate students serve their communities and the nation in profoundly important ways related to emergencies, disasters, public safety and security.

He credits Rowley for creating a program within his department to help train the next generation of emergency managers. 

“One important innovation Rob has set up in his office is an advanced internship program to guide the professional development of future emergency managers," Gerber said. "This collaboration between Rob and the Maricopa County emergency management office and ASU is of great benefit and advances a mission of preparing future leaders in the field.”

He already had the practical experience, but Rowley said the degree program really gave him insight into the theoretical side of his field. He was particularly fascinated by what makes a community resilient after a disaster.

Rowley stresses that citizens being adequately prepared to handle an emergency is key to surviving it.

“Whenever there’s a big disaster on the news, it’s usually to the point where people are without power, food and water. You hear about local and federal agencies struggling to get supplies to people,” said Rowley. “If everyone would take responsibility to be prepared for themselves and their families for three days, it would take a huge strain off government resources.”

One of the benefits of earning his graduate degree at ASU is his involvement with the Pat Tillman Veterans Center. It provided opportunities to get more involved in ASU life and to make a lifelong connection to the university.

“I started getting invited to veterans events, and even got to unfurl the flag on field at the veterans’ football game,” Rowley said. “I went from being someone attending online to feeling part of the whole ASU thing, and hopefully my boys will grow up being in love with ASU like I am now.”

Lisa Rolland-Keith

Communications Specialist, College of Public Service and Community Solutions