I've always had the utmost respect for the men and women who risk their lives daily to serve and protect the public. My dad patrolled Minnesota's highways for nearly 30 years.
A drunk driver once smashed into his car at 60 miles an hour, leaving him with severe and permanent nerve damage in his right hand, yet he still apprehended the suspect. My father is now retired, but I know he often wishes he could go back to serving the public every single day.
[Consider college scholarships that reward community service.]
A career in law enforcement can be extremely rewarding, albeit extremely taxing. If you've always admired and appreciated the sacrifice and hard work of law enforcement professionals, and you're interested in serving on a local, state, or national level, there are scholarships that can help you achieve this goal.
We recommend checking out the following law enforcement scholarships in addition to scholarships that may be available at your college or university.
The David E. Whitmire Scholarship Fund was created in honor of David Whitmire, who served as a police officer from 1956 to 1990. The scholarship is open to junior or senior undergraduates or postgraduates studying criminal justice, criminology or police administration.
To be eligible, students must have at least a 3.5 GPA, be enrolled at an accredited college or university and be a U.S. citizen. Applications must be submitted by the Dec. 15 deadline.
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The Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation strives to achieve gender equality within federal law enforcement by helping recruit, retain and promote qualified women. The organization offers scholarships to women majoring in criminal justice or a similar field.
Awards are typically worth $2,500 and distributed each May. Applicants must have completed at least one year of course work and have at least a 3.0 GPA to be eligible.
The Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program was established in 1997 in honor of two members of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners who were fatally wounded by terrorists in Pakistan. Through scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, the foundation supports students who are enrolled in accounting, business, finance and criminal justice and who wish to pursue an anti-fraud profession.
[Follow these tips to write a scholarship essay that stands out.]
This year's deadline has passed, but the scholarship should be opening up to applicants in January 2014. Check the organization's website for details.
The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives offers several scholarship opportunities that are open to graduating high school seniors interested in pursuing law enforcement or criminal justice careers. The Irlet Anderson Award is a one-time $3,500 scholarship and the Charles L. Gittens Memorial Award is a one-time $1,000 scholarship.
Recipients are recognized during the organization's annual conference. If the conference happens to be in your city, you can apply for the Larry Bolden Scholarship Award, a $2,000 scholarship awarded to a student in the city or county hosting the conference.
Michelle Showalter joined Scholarship America in 2007 and is an alumna of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.