Have you ever met a person so dedicated and diligent in the pursuit of their dreams that it inspired you to continue working towards your own dreams and goals? Well, recently I had a chance to meet such a person in Minnesota School of Business-Online (MSB) graduate Levi Ritz.
Levi, a graduate of the criminal justice degree program, has taken the time to share the story of how he pursued his dream of becoming a police officer, and how his education, family, and commitment to law enforcement aided in his ability to finally achieve his dream job.
Here’s how things played out for Richard, as written in his own words:
Hello past, present and future MSB students. My name is Levi Ritz, and I graduated from MSB in December of 2012 with my associate degree in criminal justice. I just want to take a minute to tell you a little about me, my journey, and where I am today.
I am currently 29 years old, have an amazing wife, and five beautiful children! I started college as a nontraditional student. As a young parent, I skipped college and went straight into the workforce after high school. After seven years of factory and manual labor jobs, I decided I wanted more from my life. I researched colleges and found MSB-Online.
Law enforcement has always been a dream of mine, but I never really thought about pursuing it as a career. When I started MSB-Online, I was, and still am, big into working out and nutrition. With that said, I joined MSB-Online for the health fitness specialist major. After about a year, I realized the path I was on just was not where I wanted to be, so I switched majors and went after my dream.
Before I go too far into the details, let me explain why I have always wanted to purse law enforcement as a career. It all started when I was a young boy. My father was always in trouble with the law in some sort of way, whether it was drugs, driving without a license, etc. During this time I had a lot of interactions with the local authorities.
As a child, I was often scared of what was going on, mostly just because I had no idea what was happening. The police officers always comforted me and made me feel somewhat better about the situation, even though my dad was being arrested. The main reason I wanted to get in this field is to help others and give back to those who just cannot fight for themselves. Today there is just so much negativity in families, and a lot of little children are scared, and that just does not sit well with me.
As a father of five, I did not want to uproot and move my entire family just because of a career change. I thought of that as selfish, so my hands were kind of tied when it came to departments that I could work for. There were only three places I could work and continue to live where I was. So you could imagine what it was like getting a job. I tried for around three years—applying and testing as soon as any of these departments had openings. When I did my initial testing for these departments, we had to do a written test and then a physical test which consisted of sit-ups, push-ups, sit and reach, and a mile and a half run, all timed. I would pass everything, but I just kept failing the run portion.
My advice for those trying to get into the field is this: you’re not going to get the first job you apply for. There are a lot of people going for one spot, and it’s tough. If you can, join a reserves program to gain experience. Obviously military experience is a plus as well. Just never give up. When the time is right, it will all work out.
I am happy to say that after lots of hard work and dedication, I just recently accepted a position with one of these departments. On Monday, April 21, I was sworn in as a police officer. On April 28, I started the police academy which is 15 weeks long. This is tough because I have to live here through the week but get to go home on the weekends.
Long story short—when you set your mind to something, you must overcome all obstacles and work hard. Dreams do come true, but they are never just given away.