For 26 years, Professor Cavan worked as a police officer in a suburban Detroit police department; three of those were spent in a narcotics unit in gritty southwest Detroit. He brings his police prowess as well as 25 years of teaching into the Northern Essex classroom where criminal justice students get a front row view of police work.
In addition to his extensive work experience, Professor Cavan holds both a bachelor’s and master’s in criminal justice from Michigan State.
While he loved working in criminal justice, he says, “It’s a young person’s game.” Now, he is happy to train the next generation. “I love the classroom. Working with the students is the best part of my job.”
Despite his stern, tough guy persona, Professor Cavan claims to be pretty laid back in the classroom. He views the student/teacher relationship as a “partnership in learning”.
He tells his students upfront to check their egos, as well as any preconceived notions of police work, at the door. Instead, he has them work on individual and group projects, both of which, combined with equal parts competition and compassion, will serve them well on the job, he says.