Keeping citizens in the Metroplex safe is of utmost importance to city leaders. As the Metroplex continues to grow at a rate higher than the national average, jobs in criminal justice and security are also on the rise.

According to former FBI agent Kevin Kolbye, “Even though I have 30+ years in law enforcement, returning to school has challenged me and helped develop my leadership skills. In law enforcement, we focus on collecting the facts of a potential crime that lead us in our investigations. The master’s program has taught me to look at more than just the crime itself; but analyze and value why the crime is being committed, who is committing the crime, and in preventing further crimes, how can we take the opportunity away from those that are committing the crime.”

Because of his educational pursuit, Kolbye is now the new assistant chief to the Arlington Police Department.

Dr. Kelley Stone is the first director of Homeland Security, and heads a multi-agency network that mitigates threats and hazards in the region, as well as improves the response for natural disasters. Stone’s position requires a tremendous amount of responsibility and skill, which he said he would not have had without higher education and his training at the FBI National Academy. Because of his higher degree, Stone also teaches at the university level.

Melinda Jones is a 911 operator for the Garland Police Department; she is working on a master’s degree in criminal justice and safety. “Being an African-American female, I feel the need to further my education and obtain more certifications to better represent myself when approaching employers during interviews in order to put me ahead of the competitors in the running for the same position. I am 12 credit hours away from achieving my master’s degree in spring 2016. Obtaining my master’s degree will open many career driven doors for me. I realize that without the master’s degree I may not have those opportunities,” said Jones.

“I wish I had started the master’s program 15 years ago. I think it has enhanced my leadership ability and my critical thinking,” said Kolbye.

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com