Faculty Spotlight

Brandman adjunct takes charge of LAPD training

January 03, 2018 by Brandman University
Beck, Contreras, Randolph

Antelope Valley Campus Director Norma Contreras with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck (left) and Capt. Dan Randolph, commanding officer of in-service training for the LAPD and a Brandman adjunct.

Dan Randolph was looking for a way to build his resume when he started teaching classes at a Brandman University campus 13 years ago.

It worked. Randolph is now a captain in the Los Angeles Police Department and commanding officer of In-Service Training in the Training Division. It’s a post he says he would never have gotten without first developing his teaching skills as an adjunct faculty member.

When Brandman hired Randolph in 2004, the university was still called Chapman University College and classes met at Edwards Air Force Base with Norma Contreras as Randolph’s main point of contact. Now he teaches criminal justice classes at the Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita campuses, where Contreras is campus director.

“Teaching was what I wanted to get into. Chapman/Brandman took a chance on me, and I found I loved it,” he said. “They gave me the freedom – they had the confidence – to let me make the courses mine and hold students to some rigor.”

Adjunct of the Year

Contreras says that’s what makes him one of the university’s best adjuncts. “Student evaluations have proven over and over again that students have enriched classroom experiences and grow both personally and professionally with the knowledge acquired in his classroom.”

“I can bring some real-world experience to the classroom,” said Randolph. “Not just police work but the criminal justice system as a whole. The exposure and contacts that I had opened up field trip opportunities that let students see the bigger picture.”

For Randolph, the bigger picture of his career meant combining his duties with the LAPD (including everything from patrol work to gang enforcement to a variety of supervisory positions) with making use of the master’s degree he earned in conflict management and negotiation from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

“I was sitting on a graduate degree and knew I wanted to teach but didn’t know how to break into mainstream teaching,” said Randolph. “Brandman helped me as much as I helped them.”

That includes landing his new LAPD position. As commanding officer of in-service training, he is responsible for the training and retraining of 10,000 sworn and 3,000 civilian employees of the LAPD, particularly on state-of-the-art technology and updated departmental policies and procedures.

Randolph, Contreras, Garcetti
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (right) was also on hand for Capt. Dan Randolph's first graduation ceremony as head of in-service training.

“It’s almost like running a community college,” he said of his new position. “I really like my job. I really like being an adjunct. It’s not a bad word. I love having just a piece of it. I really enjoy juggling both. I think those that teach at Brandman get it. They see what I see.”

It is Contreras he credits with making sure that Brandman students are getting the education they need. “Under Norma’s leadership, the message has always been to challenge the students and get them ready for the next steps” in their careers and educations.

To show his appreciation, he invited her to the first graduation ceremony he presided over as commanding officer, giving Contreras a chance to meet LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Still learning

Although technology, social media and the availability of information have changed both how and what he teaches, Randolph said his goal is the same: to help students build critical thinking skills. It’s a skill he finds valuable as an adjunct as well. “With any profession, you can get jaded or biased. I just try very hard to stay open-minded and make sure I’m giving a balanced view of the criminal justice system.

“That’s the important part of my job. We have so much information at our fingertips, the mandate to be a critical thinker is more important than ever.”

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