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Spotlight on UCC's Criminal Justice Program

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Corporal Brad ODell

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Corporal Brad O'Dell - Graduate & Instructor

When you talk to Brad O’Dell you can’t help but be touched by the reoccurring theme, “I want to help people.” It seems Brad has always wanted to be where he’s needed the most. By 5th grade he was convinced the path that lay ahead focused on the challenge of becoming a paramedic. At 16, Brad entered the Fire & EMS Explorer Program with the Glide Fire Department. This program provides young men and women from 6th grade to 20 years old with opportunities to learn more about careers in the field of fire or emergency services. After graduation from Glide High School in 2002, Brad actively began serving others in a public role, and has essentially never looked back. The resumé of service is already long and includes both teaching and learning on the campus of UCC.

As a Patrol Corporal with the Douglas County Sherriff’s Office, Brad assists, supports, and protects the residents of Douglas County. As a student both on and off the campus of UCC, Brad has completed over 1800 hours of public service education. As an educator, Brad provides both time and knowledge to students enrolled in UCC’s Police Reserve Academy. In fact, one of his first roles on the UCC Campus was as a volunteer. Robert Willbanks, Criminal Justice Program Coordinator at UCC, spoke of Brad’s willingness to share what he knows and help where he is needed. He says of Brad, “For almost the whole first year, he volunteered his time with the Academy every Saturday morning. He wouldn’t take any compensation. He just wanted to be of service. Brad is exactly the kind of person we would recruit as an instructor. He came to us as volunteer, but if he hadn’t, he’d be on our recruitment list.”

A large portion of Brad’s public safety knowledge was acquired while juggling a full-time job, home life, and instructor duties. He speaks energetically about the power of learning with and from other folks around the state and graduating from Basic Police Class #301 in 2008. “Being together in that setting with people that share the same vision for the role they play in keeping their communities safe, was an experience that stays with you.” Brad’s desire to help people and the education path that goes with it, isn’t without a bit of hindsight on his part. He says if he could look back on his younger self, he would say “It’s easier to complete your education prior to entering the workforce as opposed to trying to balance life, work schedules, and everything else with school.”

Photo: Brad O'Dell (Top) Credit: UCC Staff

Robert Willbanks - Contact
Criminal Justice Coordinator
Phone: 541-440-7668

Rob Willbanks - Program Coordinator & Instructor

Robert WillbanksRob Willbanks began his ‘second career’ prior to retirement from the Oregon Department of Corrections Parole & Probation. He was recruited by Dennis O’Neill, Director of the UCC Foundation, teaching four years of Criminal Justice classes at UCC part-time while still working for Parole and Probation. After retirement from the Department of Corrections, Rob became UCC’s Criminal Justice Program Coordinator/Instructor.

Rob loves working with students and providing an education based on ‘life as it is’ rather than handing students a book about the theory of criminal justice. “A book is never going to be as compelling as real-life experiences,” Rob explains. “Teaching by providing the theory behind a process like community policing doesn’t do it justice. For me, bringing in professionals from around the state, many with multi-state experiences, converts education into practice; it becomes ‘this is how we do it in Oregon’.”

“Most students in our program will complete their education here and go directly to work. Rob explains “I receive emails from students, many whom have gone on to local or state agencies.” He shares a moment of pride about a paralegal from UCC now with the Oregon Supreme Court. “UCC’s strength is our connection with each other as real people. My title is instructor, but it’s the personal discussions I have with students on ‘doing the job’ that make a difference. Those discussions make it real.” He ended his comments on the relationships between faculty and students by simply saying, “Teaching others is revitalizing to a career you love.”

Rob shares how he daily reminds students to ‘focus’ and tells them, “This is your job until you enter the work force. Ask as many questions as you can of people in your desired career field. Many options are available in the Criminal Justice career field.”

Photo: Rob Willbanks (Right) Credit: UCC Staff

Robert Willbanks - Contact
Criminal Justice Coordinator
Phone: 541-440-7668

Ashley Alliman - Student

Ashley AllimannAshley Alliman started at UCC five years ago as a dental assisting student. At that time, she found it difficult to retain information and concentrate. The 4.0 student now describes being in the Criminal Justice Program as a “burning passion, something I know I’m here to do.”

Her ‘big purpose’ is something she eagerly explains ‘goes beyond going to classes’. “The Police Reserve Academy staff and instructors in the Criminal Justice Program are preparing me for something bigger. After graduation I know I want to protect and serve my community.” This desire frequently keeps her on campus, with her children attending the Ford Childhood Enrichment Center. Speaking of the daycare staff, her face and voice soften, “They are family, and while my kids are there I can concentrate on what I need to get done. I can achieve my goals because of the care and support provided by others on campus.”

The UCC Criminal Justice instructors are truly partners in her journey. She speaks of Robert Willbanks, Program Coordinator/Instructor, as someone she can go to with a million questions. “He’s more than an instructor; he’s become a friend, especially after what happened on October 1. That day validated all the more that I want to finish and graduate from UCC.” Rob Willbanks explains Ashley’s quest for knowledge, “She doesn’t come to me with questions looking for answers, she comes with questions to work through and investigate together. With her, it always goes back to what does she need to know to achieve her goals? Her thirst for information is remarkable.”

Ashley plans to graduate this spring with the class of 2016. She openly reflects how her relationships have changed since October 1. “I find myself saying hello and asking people ‘how are you doing’ both on campus, and even in the community, and really caring about the response. We’re closer somehow. I’m more prideful now of what we have at UCC and in our community.”

Photo: Ashley Alliman (Left) Credit: UCC Staff

Robert Willbanks - Contact
Criminal Justice Coordinator
Phone: 541-440-7668