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Local police chiefs credit SC4’s criminal justice program for career success

Police chiefs helping lead the way in two cities in Michigan’s thumb region say the criminal justice program at St. Clair County Community College helped them secure opportunities in their profession.

Imlay City Police Chief Scott Pike and Yale Police Chief Brian Mahaffy both attended SC4 to earn degrees and further their careers.

Pike, of Clyde Township, graduated cum laude from SC4 with an associate degree in criminal justice. He then earned a bachelor’s in criminal justice from Eastern Michigan University and master’s in public administration from University of Michigan-Flint.

“I came to Port Huron in 1991 after eight years in the U.S. Navy and a short stint as a police officer in Arizona,” Pike said. “I knew that in order to move up in my career as a police officer in Port Huron, higher education would be critical to my success.

“SC4 prepared me very well for my law enforcement career — more importantly, it prepared me for even higher levels of education. While working on my degree at SC4, my program was designed with the intent of transferring my credits to the university level. The curriculum and standards required at SC4 set me up for success.”

Pike credits the college for his many accomplishments.

“My career has gone beyond what I could ever have imagined,” he admitted. “I spent 25 years with the Port Huron Police Department. I rose through the ranks as a detective, sergeant and lieutenant. After retiring from the Port Huron Police Department, I accepted a position as chief of police with the Imlay City Police Department.

“Without SC4 starting me on my college educational path, there is no possible way I could have made it to where I am today,” Pike added. “I highly encourage anyone looking for a career in law enforcement to start with SC4 and continue on after.”

Brian Mahaffy of St. Clair Township attended SC4 after graduating from high school in 1982.

“I enjoyed the convenience of a college close to my hometown of Peck and liked the criminal justice program they offered,” he said.

Mahaffy said the Houston, Texas, Police Department ran a recruiting program that took him to the Houston Police Academy in 1984, where he served as a police officer for four years before returning to St. Clair.

In 1988, he was hired by the St. Clair Police Department, where he ultimately retired as sergeant in 2014.

“Before retiring, I returned to SC4 to continue my education and receive my associate degree in criminal justice,” Mahaffy said. “I went back to SC4 to finish my degree to further my chances for a promotion and a future chief’s job.”

Mahaffy hit the streets again as a school liaison officer in Yale in 2015 before becoming the city’s police chief.

“I chose to finish my degree at SC4 because I enjoyed the instructors and the class sizes in the past,” he said. “The location and the tuition cost were a factor as well. I have always liked SC4 and have recommended it to students over the years.”

Mahaffy said SC4 has not only been advantageous for him but also his family. His wife, Jill, was in the college’s nursing program and still practices in the area as a registered nurse, and their three sons — Brandon, 31, Kyle, 29, and Cody, 25 — all attended SC4.

“They all started at SC4 because it’s great college that’s affordable and close to home,” Mahaffy said. “My entire family has benefited from SC4 in their personal and professional lives. The college has guided us to our careers and the happy lives we live today.”

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