Criminal Justice

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Preparing students for a career in law enforcement and corrections
There is a nationwide trend toward requiring that all criminal justice professionals have at least a two- year degree, and Cowley College Associate Degree in Criminal Justice fulfills that promise. This is an ideal time to become a professional in criminal justice. In response to the rise in crime rates, increasing drug abuse, and a growing population, the public demands a strong response to the violence and disorder, causing employment opportunities to increase dramatically in recent years. Career opportunities exist in many areas: local police departments and organizations, county and state police departments, corrections, environmental protection services, juvenile facilities, crime laboratories, courts and judicial offices, and community-based corrections (probation and parole).


Students that have declared a major in Criminal Justice and meet qualification guidelines are eligible to be a Student Patrol Officer. Participating in the Student Patrol program is a requirement and out of a desire to help the community by learning about their chosen profession. The primary focus of Student Patrol is education through experience.


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Ireland Hall on Cowley College main campus
Ireland Hall
300 W Central Ave
Arkansas City, KS 67005


online student using laptop


This program can be completed online.

Kansas Promise Act logoKansas Promise Act Eligible
Kansas residents can earn scholarship dollars to cover expenses associated with completing an eligible associate degree or certificate. Contact Admissions to find out more about the Kansas Promise Act scholarship.

My Story

Dakota Richardson

Criminal Justice
Dakota Richardson
While at Cowley College I found it exciting to get to class and get involved in a subject I had a growing passion about.

My name is Dakota Richardson and I wish to share my experience with the Cowley College Criminal Justice program. When I graduated high school in Belle Plaine, Kansas I wanted to become a chiropractor or history teacher. But I had a friend whose father served with the Kansas Highway Patrol and seeing how a police officer was held to a higher standard I quickly changed my mind. After asking about his experiences in law enforcement I thought that would be a great career.

While at Cowley College I found it exciting to get to class and get involved in a subject I had a growing passion about. I found myself doing a lot better than I did in high school because the course work made me feel like I wanted to be in the classroom learning. The criminal justice program provided me and my classmates several tools to become a successful police officer. I learned the court procedures and what could be expected in the judicial process. I learned local “10 codes” along with the phonetic alphabet which most law enforcement agency’s use.

After completing and graduating from Cowley College, I quickly became employed with the Winfield Police Department and have used my skills I learned in the criminal justice program in my tour of duty each day. I would not change my career choice for anything else. I am proud to be a Cowley College Criminal Justice graduate and proud to be a police officer!

Meet Your Instructor & Department Faculty & Staff

Frank Owens has a passion for teaching the future officers of our criminal justice system and brings his knowledge of the criminal justice system into the classroom and blends it with traditional college learning to create a hands-on and fun learning atmosphere.
Faculty Chair, Health & Human Services, EMS Director
Faculty - Criminal Justice
Academic Department Specialist, Health & Human Services