After watching his father dedicate his life to a career in
law enforcement, Lt. Joe Platzer knew serving his community was the path he
also wanted to take.
“My father was a police officer in Port Huron and I was able
to see what he did for a living and I liked it and knew from a young age that is
what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Platzer said.
He started out as a Police Explorer, a program where 14 to
18 year olds learn the ins and out of police work. Platzer then earned his criminal
justice degree from SC4 and graduated in 1991. Upon earning his degree he
enrolled in the police academy and began work at the Port Huron Police
Department. He also continued his education, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal
justice from Eastern Michigan University. He is currently working on a master’s
degree in criminal justice public administration through University of
Platzer said he chose SC4 because it was located in his
community and he liked that the cadet program is offered in conjunction with the
criminal justice program.
“You are considered a part-time employee but you also have
to be enrolled at SC4 going into criminal justice,” he said. “We hire police
cadets to work the desk, take walk-in complaints, capture tips, patrol the
parks and waterways in the summer, and just be an ambassador for the department.”
In his more than 25 years in
law enforcement, Platzer has moved up the ranks at PHPD, starting as a cadet,
and then as a plainclothes officer working with the Special Crimes Unit in
gang and narcotic investigation.
He was promoted to detective
and then road sergeant, and in 2010 was selected to start up and run the Major
Crimes Unit, now the Neighborhood Enforcement Team, which is a plainclothes
operation dealing with high profile crimes in Port Huron. In 2014 he was
promoted to lieutenant and most recently administrative lieutenant. He’s
also in charge of the Special Response team and has held positions as Police
Explorers advisor, field training officer, range master and is an adjunct
professor at SC4.
“I like being able to give back to the community and teach, which
is something I want to pursue down the line when I retire,” he said. “I had a
good background from my dad being a police officer and being in the Explorer Program,
but SC4 enhanced my knowledge on a lot of different topics and gave me the
basic fundamentals on what police work is about.”
Platzer’s advice for students: “You need college to advance
in any type of employment that you choose. The more education you have and the
better the portfolio you provide, the higher the position you will be able to
obtain in your respective business or job. I’m just a big proponent of education.”
Click here to learn more about SC4's criminal justice - law enforcement degree.
Click here to learn more about SC4's criminal justice - corrections degree.