People in Detroit know how difficult it can be to land gainful employment in this tough Michigan economy; they also know how hard it can be to turn that position into a longtime, fruitful career. The Motor City may have its problems with crime, not unlike any other big city, but with the economy on the upswing, more Detroiters than ever are turning to the field of criminal justice to not only help combat tough issues in Motown, but to achieve some spectacular levels of success as well.
Daniel Draz is the principal of Fraud Solutions, an international fraud consulting firm. With 27 years of experience in the criminal justice field, Draz has a stellar record of fraud investigation, training, prevention, management and compliance experience — all within the private sector. He is often published in industry and trade publications and has been a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) since 1996. Draz has an master of science in economic crime management from Utica College and earned his bachelor of science in criminal justice from Arizona State University.
After graduation, how hard was it to transition to the working world?
“After graduating from college, I initially pursued a public sector career as a special agent with various federal law enforcement agencies. That was a long and tedious process. Although I passed the Treasury Enforcement Agent Exam, starting salaries in law enforcement at that time were less than my student loans, so I ultimately opted for an investigative position in the private sector where there were more readily available opportunities.”
How important is a well-rounded, impressive education within your field?
“There are many different sectors in the criminal justice profession and the different sectors often have differing requirements concerning levels of education. For example, some agencies may require a college degree as the minimum entry requirement, while others might only require a high school education. So, an important consideration for applicants thinking about a position is what value does the agency place on an applicant’s education?”Since most public sector positions in the criminal justice field are civil service jobs, the education equation is dictated by civil service rules, so having a degree may only provide minimal return versus an applicant with actual on-the-job experience. However, in the private sector, the education usually pays dividends as it is often a basic requirement of the job, while an advanced degree is often highly valued by management for promotional opportunities.”
Do you have any advice for someone starting out in criminal justice?
“Given how the world is changing these days, I advise younger individuals to integrate other disciplines — language, business, finance, accounting, analytics, forensics, etc. — into their criminal justice studies to make themselves more well rounded. With the ever-present competitive nature of the economy, employers are looking for multifaceted individuals who possess multiple skill sets and that is often the differentiator between one candidate and another.”
Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at Examiner.com.