For most police officers, chasing criminals is a lot easier than chasing down free time. So when Pensacola (Fla.) police officer Greg Gordon decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree, he wanted to make sure time would not be too much of an issue.
“Schedule was a big factor for me in pursuing a degree from Columbia Southern University,” the 11-year veteran officer said. “The ease that I had to access all my materials and my professors was the No. 1 factor in my decision.”
Gordon, who graduated in 2009 with a business administration degree, added that his educational journey with CSU was great because he was able to work on his own timeline. “And the staff has been great. They have always been there to answer my questions,” he said.
The 36-year-old chose to focus on tourism and hospitality within the business administration degree program. “I was looking into the aspects of asset protection and threat assessment. In today’s world, we have seen attacks at hotels, shopping malls and businesses,” Gordon explained. “I felt with my law enforcement background and training I would be able to use my experience after retirement or if I change careers.”
He credits his CSU bachelor’s degree with opening doors and providing opportunities in his career field. “I have been able to apply for jobs on the federal level since I received my degree,” Gordon explained. “At the Pensacola Police Department, I also qualified to take promotional exams for sergeant, lieutenant and captain positions. My degree has opened many doors that I would still be knocking on if I had not pursued higher education at CSU.”
An Ann Arbor, Mich., native, Gordon came aknockin’ on Pensacola’s door in 1995 to be closer to family. He was hired as a cadet by the police department in April 1996 and was promoted to police officer in July 1999. He has earned several citations including Officer of Month in 2007 and a very special honor in 2010 — the Gold Medal of Valor, the police department’s highest award for heroism. He also received an official copy of the United States Congressional Record from Florida congressman Jeff Miller in recognition of his bravery.
While en route to police headquarters to drop off paperwork in July 2009, Gordon heard a call dispatched regarding a 911 hang up. Gordon responded to the Pensacola residence and saw smoke coming from the house. Nearby residents indicated someone may be in the burning home.
After beating on the front door and not getting a response, Gordon burst in and began crawling under smoke to search for anyone. He was able to locate the individual and pull him out and both received assistance. Gordon and the victim were later treated for injuries.
Gordon, who enjoys the outdoors and running and competing in triathlons, hopes to return to CSU obtain a master’s degree. He said he would advise others to do so, too.
“CSU is a great school and I would tell others don’t let the traditional brick and mortar university overshadow your search for an online university that will allow you to reach your dreams.”