Page 70 - FOP May 2019 Magazine
P. 70

 A profile of a Chicago Lodge 7 Magazine Sponsor
 Education Spotlight
Master’s of His Domain
CPD officer makes the grade by pursuing degree at Saint Xavier
As his daughter graduates high school this year, Chicago Police Officer Alfred Ferreira will be donning a cap of his own. And the nearly 20-year Depart- ment veteran will not only be graduat- ing from Saint Xavier University with an MBA, he’ll do it with a nearly perfect grade point average.
“I want to be a role model for my kids,” he said of his decision to pursue a higher education.
“The timing was right. With the con- tract and the reimbursement, and the timing of wanting to better myself and my position, it became obvious that this was the next step for me,” he said.
Even before graduation, he’s been bringing skills learned in school back to the Department. Ferreira is growing confidence in his ability to deal with su- periors and manage projects.
“Every one of my classes is paying back to both the Department and to me personally,” Ferreira confirmed.
The road to his success hasn’t been easy. No one handed him his 3.9 grade- point average or finished his projects for him. He spent long nights with class- mates studying and gave up time with his family to pursue a dream.
But it has certainly paid off.
“After I leave CPD, I’ll have countless opportunities to utilize the MBA,” Fer- reira declared. “I’m hoping that it will definitely open doors to what I want in the future. And it also benefits the De- partment, as I bring what I learn back to work.”
Ferreira does have one regret: that he didn’t enroll sooner. Consequently, his advice to other officers is not to wait.
“What tends to happen is you get in- volved in your job and you put it off,” he reasoned. “But the Department is paying for it. Utilize it. It will come back two-fold both during and after work. So always plan ahead. That’s what I picked up with my MBA – planning ahead and for the future.”
And as he’s inspiring other officers to follow in his path of higher education, he’s also motivating his own children to do the same.
“They challenge me with my GPA,” he quipped. “It’s kind of like a game for us athome.IfIgetanA,theyhavetoget an A. They saw the work I did pounding out papers. But once I started getting a couple As, being a competitive person, I was stuck. It’s not like you walk in and someone hands you the answers. But if you want it and put in the work, you will be rewarded.”
 Obtaining a master’s degree was something
Ferreira always wanted to
accomplish, but after ac-
cepting a job with the Department’s Pro- fessional Counseling Division and tak- ing on the role of peer support program manager, college seemed out of reach. But his new role inspired him to stretch himself and seek his master’s.
“I began getting involved with train- ing on a national level and it became apparent that I needed a little more of a business background,” Ferreira said. “Saint Xavier offers workplace training and learning as part of its MBA program, and really emphasizes training in a pro- fessional atmosphere. Those are things you can use right away on the job.”
Ferreira initially enrolled at SXU to earn a certificate and take four classes relevant to his concentration. But once he got started, he wanted so much more.
“Having a certificate would help me within the Department, but having a full MBA affords so many more oppor- tunities. I started looking past CPD and what’s going to happen after that, and that’s when my desire to obtain a degree really started to take hold.”
He credits the SXU instructors, some of whom are police officers themselves, with inspiring and motivating him to take the leap.
“They’re very cool with an officer’s schedule and the rigors of our job,” Fer- reira explained. “They make it as easy as possible for you. They push you, but they won’t let you fall off the cliff.”
   The melding of online and classroom courses was also a benefit to Ferreira, who was working school around his family and his career. He also credits his classmates, with whom he built relation- ships that thrust him toward success. From study groups to sharing notes, worries and stresses, Ferreira found not only friends but a support group during his time in grad school.
“The camaraderie with my classmates has been a big factor,” he explained. “You have an immediate support system of people all going through the same thing, but I found that everyone going back to school and getting degrees has a purpose and is pretty concentrated on that.”
More than 2,000 officers have gone through Saint Xavier University’s Mas- ter of Business Administration program that is geared to Chicago Police Officers. The program began 21 years ago and continues to grow, in part because of the continued benefits the program pro- vides to CPD.
SXU offers a scholarship for 25 percent of the cost of tuition to Chicago Police Officers. With the 75-percent reimburse- ment that comes from the Department as part of the current collective bargain- ing agreement, it’s feasible for any offi- cer to attend the program for free.
This was a big factor in Ferreira’s deci- sion to enroll.

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