JSO Officer Becomes First Graduate of FSCJ Bachelor’s Degree Program in Public Safety Management
By Florida State College Tue, July 26, 2011 7:58 am EDT
We’re shining the alumni spotlight on a patrol officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Find out why he chose the program and how he balanced college and a full-time job.
"Hello, my name is Officer Silcox, I work in the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and I’m a graduate of Florida State College."
Officer R. Michael Silcox is a Jacksonville native. After graduating from Trinity Christian Academy, he began a life of public service in the United States Air Force. His service took him as far away as Italy and Saudi Arabia, so after four and a half years, he was happy to return home and ready to pursue his dream career.
"Growing up, I wanted to be a police officer," says Silcox.
"When I first got out of the military and came back to Jacksonville, [attending FSCJ] was just the best option for me," says Silcox. "I began working toward my associate degree in criminal justice. After I finished school, I was able to go through the police academy," says Silcox.
For more than seven years, Officer Silcox has been protecting and serving the people of Jacksonville. He says the challenges and rewards are a source of satisfaction.
"Every day is different. One day, you might go to work and you'll see tragedy all day long. The next day, you go to work and you'll see people going out of their way to help each other."
Officer Silcox is currently part of the Crime Free Multi Housing Unit. These officers work with apartment complex managers and tenants to curb the violence in some of Jacksonville's high-crime communities—including Eureka Garden Apartments.
Officer Silcox describes what police have encountered in the complex: "A lot of drugs, a lot of shootings; police keep a high presence in here. You have to rely on your training, your gut and know what you can and can't do by yourself."
However, Silcox says the results he sees are worth the risk. "You can see a change when we're there. We're providing a safer community. It really warms you... knowing we're helping them and they're helping us. It's really a team project."
While Silcox loves his job, he wants to move up in the organization. To help him achieve his career goal, he enrolled in the bachelor's degree program in Public Safety Management.
"Most of my classes—especially the upper-level classes—were all business classes, management classes and finance classes," says Silcox. "As I progress further up the chain of command, I believe those tools will be invaluable."
For now, Officer Silcox is focused on making Jacksonville a safer place to live, one patrol at a time.
Balancing a full-time job with a full-time course load wasn't easy. However, he succeeded—with honors. Silcox credits the many online offerings, the eight-week sessions and an extremely supportive faculty—which he says wasn't a surprise since he earned his associate degree from Florida State College in 2007. Learn more about the Public Safety Management bachelor's degree program and our related associate and certificate programs.
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