Originally from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Michael Allen joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from high school. His service led him to New Hampshire. When Michael's active duty service ended, he retired from the military and transitioned to a career with the Rochester Police Department, where he's built an impressive career in law enforcement.
A decade into his career with the Rochester PD, Michael crossed paths with a former police officer from a neighboring community, who happened to work at Granite State College. They began a conversation that inspired Michael to evaluate his college options and, ultimately, to attend Granite State College.
Getting my bachelor’s degree was one of my lifelong goals. What I didn’t know, is just how close I was to achieving it.
When Michael met with his advisor, they discussed his prior college experience, which included an associate degree as well as a few college courses that Michael took while deployed. They went over the various training Michael had completed both in the U.S. Air Force and while on the Police Force. This combination of prior learning presented the opportunity for him to get considerable college credit to apply towards his bachelor’s degree.
I knew that earning the credential of a bachelor’s degree was important. I was the Deputy Chief in the department at the time. I didn’t want there to be any question that I was the most qualified candidate for the job when the Chief of Police position became available.
Just as Michael was nearing the completion of his bachelor’s degree, he learned that Granite State was on the cusp of introducing its first master’s degree: the M.S. in Project Management.
Getting my bachelor’s degree gave me a thirst for learning. I was inspired to continue on my journey and I decided that a master’s degree was the next step.
With a career devoted to public service and criminal justice, Project Management may not seem like an obvious choice. However, it aligned with Michael’s greater vision for his professional development.
I knew law enforcement. I knew public safety. I wanted something different. Project Management was intriguing. I knew I could apply it to my current job as a Deputy Chief and that the skills would be applicable to the future Chief of Police position I aspired to.
Michael was able to draw many connections between his Project Management coursework and his role at the Rochester Police Department.
I began to apply the project management methodology to everything I did, whether it be putting a budget together or implementing a new technology to the department.
In early 2012, the City of Rochester’s Chief of Police formerly announced his retirement. One week later, the police commission unanimously named Michael Allen the new Chief of Police. The interview committee noted that it was an easy decision: “The new chief has integrity, more than 20 years’ service on the department, and is very highly educated and is currently working on his master’s degree.”
In Michael’s capstone presentation, he focused on the implementation of social media in the police department.
It has blossomed into a valuable and successful program in our department. We’re solving crime and we’re building relationships in the community through the use of social media. We’re building more trust in the community. It’s a huge resource.
Michael is proud to share how he’s benefited from his education. Not only did he achieve an early goal of completing his bachelor’s degree, but he also met a major career milestone and furthered his education with a master’s degree.
What I’ve learned at Granite State College made me a better Deputy Chief when I was going through the program, and it makes me a better Police Chief today.