So. Chicago Heights Police Chief Honors GSU for His Service
Nearly 40 years after completing his bachelor’s degree at Governors State University (GSU) and 20 years serving the Chicago Police Department, South Chicago Heights Police Chief William “Bill” Joyce returned to GSU and received his Master of Arts in Criminal Justice in 2014.
Chief Joyce joined the South Chicago Heights Police Department in 1994 where he continually makes contributions to the community he protects and supports the police force that he leads. Due to his positive impact on South Chicago Heights, he and his force are admired within the community.
“With the knowledge and resources that I gained from Governors State, my ability to serve the community I love, South Chicago Heights, has increased,” says Chief Joyce.
Why did you choose GSU?
While in pursuit of my bachelor’s degree, I became a Chicago police officer; upon graduation, in the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted to return to school to get a master’s degree. As my career progressed, I noticed that many of my peers were getting advanced degrees, which only motivated me further to consider going back to college. Fortunately, 36 years after completing my undergrad program, the perfect opportunity to return to school arose when Bill Villanova, the Police Chief of Oak Lawn at the time, organized a cohort with Governors State University and approached me to join the group. My decision to join the cohort was an easy choice to make because I trusted Governors State and its Criminal Justice program had a great reputation.
What did you get from GSU that you couldn’t have gotten anywhere else?
Dr. Brian Vivona was one of the main reasons why my experience at Governors State was so unique. His encouragement, challenging coursework, and personable attitude contributed to my success as a student, as well as my current position as Police Chief of South Chicago Heights. I was pushed to the limit in his classes, and I definitely came out of Governors State as a better person because of him.
What’s next for you professionally?
Currently, our department is working towards acquiring a full staff, which we expect to have within a year. We are also implementing a new protocol that will require every officer to be cross-trained in active shooter response, mobile field force, as well as preventing and responding to juvenile delinquency. By ensuring that our officers are well-versed in these diverse and sensitive policing scenarios, we can avoid the occurrence of any unnecessary tragedies in our community.
How did your GSU degree help you advance your career?
Since graduating from GSU, I had the privilege of being invited to the White House in order to participate in discussions regarding policing in the 21st Century. These talks were designed to help police departments across the nation collaborate on the best practices of reducing crime through un-biased policing; therefore, national policing tactics can become more uniform and ensure the safety of all communities in the United States of America. I would have never received this honor, if not for Governors State providing me its network of opportunities.
What are you most proud of when you look back at your GSU experience?
I take great pride in the degree I earned from Governors State because it opened so many doors for me that progressed my career. As I mentioned prior, I would not have been able to visit the White House without attending Governors State; additionally, I have become an adjunct professor at South Suburban College where I teach the course “A Sociological Approach to Juvenile Delinquency.” My advanced degree definitely helped me grow in my position as the Chief of Police for South Chicago Heights. Because of the great opportunities that came after receiving my master’s degree, I am forever thankful for the resources provided by Governors State.
What advice would you share with current GSU students?
I want Governors State’s current students to know that they should stay the course and go as far as they can with their education. The process of earning a degree —undergraduate and/or graduate—is a valuable experience that presents many professional benefits in the long run. As for prospective students that are debating to begin—or return—to school, remember, you are never too old to pursue your dream. A reputable institution like Governors State will be able to help you realize your aspirations and take your career where it needs to be.