Criminal Justice Program

For 50+ years, DMACC has been a leader in providing criminal justice education programs. The DMACC Criminal Justice Degree Program is designed to provide a general criminal justice education that allows you to enter the workforce, move on to advanced training, or gain additional skills to enhance your career.

Choose your path: ​

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​Go to Work

Many Criminal Justice careers require a two-year degree

Go to Work Details

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Transfer

Earn a degree and move on to a four year college or university for advanced training

Transfer Details

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​Specialized Training

Enhance your Criminal Justice skills

Certificate Details

Student Testimonial

Noemi Villasenor

​Noemi Villasenor

Criminal Justice
The teachers are very helpful, attentive and just great people. My favorite thing is coming to class because it's very comfortable. It's a big family here. The Criminal Justice Club is very interesting because the professors share their stories and life experiences.

 

 

 

 


 

Meet Your Professor(s)

Jessica Cole

Jessica Cole

Program & District Co-Chair
Ankeny Campus
515-964-6615

Jessica began her teaching career at DMACC in January 2014. She served as the project manager for the collaboration with Transportation Security Administration and the Homeland Security Certificate program prior to becoming District Chair for the Criminal Justice Program in August 2016. Jessica is a Criminal Justice Club Advisor, coordinates the internship program for criminal justice students, and is involved in a number of DMACC committees. Before coming to DMACC, Jessica served as a police officer and detective with the Fairfax County Police Department in Northern Virginia, and was a member of the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force. She taught women's self-defense throughout her law enforcement career. She currently teaches a variety of face-to-face and online classes, to include criminal & constitutional law, theories of interviewing, criminal investigation, and police & society.

Education:

BS in Psychology from Iowa State University; MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice from University of Maryland.​

Samantha O'Hara

Samantha O'Hara

Program & District Co-Chair
Ankeny Campus
515-964-6667

​Samantha began teaching full-time in DMACC’s Criminal Justice department in August 2017.  She also taught part-time at DMACC from 2008 through 2013.  Sam worked at a residential corrections facility in the Iowa 2nd Judicial District Department of Correctional Services for a short time, followed by more than ten years at the U.S. Probation Office for the Southern District of Iowa.  After her federal service, Sam was a law enforcement instructor at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy for about three years.  Most recently, she earned four years’ teaching experience as a full-time faculty member at Simpson College in their Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, where she also held the position of Program Director for the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program.

Education: 

PhD in Criminal Justice from University of Nebraska at Omaha, Master of Arts degree in Sociology and Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, both from the University of Northern Iowa.

Steve Barger

Steve Barger

DMACC/TSA Homeland Security Certificate Program Chair
Ankeny Campus
515-964-6525

Steve began his teaching career at DMACC as an adjunct criminal justice instructor in 2010, and assumed full-time teaching duties in the fall of 2016. Steve serves as a Criminal Justice Club Advisor, was a long time member of the DMACC Criminal Justice Advisory Board, and the Indian Hills Community College Digital Forensics Advisory Committee. Steve recently retired from a 20 plus year career with the Iowa Department of Public Safety where he served as an Iowa State Patrol Trooper, Trooper/Vehicle Theft Investigator, Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Intelligence. Steve has served as a Tactical Unit member and spent much of his career working undercover, task forces, and special operations. Steve has served as an instructor and trainer for multiple disciplines at the Iowa Department of Public Safety Academy and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy as well as instructing and training other local, and state, law enforcement officers throughout the Midwest.  Steve teaches a variety of Homeland Security and Criminal Justice credit courses both face-to-face and online.

Education:

Associate in Arts Degree from Des Moines Area Community College and Bachelor in Public Administration with an Emphasis in Law Enforcement from Upper Iowa University.

​Employment in the criminal justice field is highly dependent upon one's character and background. Students who have a criminal history may complete the program of study, but it is NOT likely that they will find employment in the criminal justice field, and students with a criminal history may NOT be eligible for an internship, which is required for the AAS degree.