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James Lamkin '00—Illinois

James Lamkin St. Charles, Ill., Chief of Police James Lamkin often sits at his desk and thinks about how he can make a difference in society. Maybe it's through a new community policing initiative. Perhaps it's through victims' rights. Or, maybe it's even rehabilitating a criminal.

Whatever the way, Lamkin knows he is able to make a significant difference in the community for one reason: his position as head of the St. Charles Police Department. And that, he says, is a sole result of his education.

"Does a college degree make a difference in law enforcement? Not necessarily," Lamkin said. "But the only way I could use my experience to affect change in a new position required a college degree."

A 23-year veteran of the Elgin, Ill., Police Department before moving to St. Charles, Lamkin knew his career had reached its pinnacle without a college education. That's why he decided to attend Columbia College-Elgin in 1996. Four years later and armed with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice administration, he noticed a job posting for the top position in St. Charles. He applied, and out of 90 applications, was selected for the job.

"I became keenly aware that if my career was going to advance at all, a college education was necessary," Lamkin said. "Because I took the initiative, I have been able to take my knowledge and experience in public service and make a difference for the people of St. Charles. You can't ask for more than that."



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