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Joe Smith - Personal Story

Suzanne Muraco decided to become a police officer when she was 16, and at Columbus State she’s now helping train the next generation.

Muraco, a Hilliard native, found her calling when at age 16 the local police department recruited her to the Explorers, a kind of junior police auxiliary. There were no other peace officers in her family, and her parents initially thought it was “a phase.” That was before she visited Columbus State’s Law Enforcement Academy program.

“When I went in and looked at it, it was right up my alley,” Muraco says. “It was absolutely everything I needed it to be.”

Not everyone’s cut out to be a police officer, Muraco says, but a few months in Columbus State’s hands-on program will tell if you’ve got what it takes. The Academy exposes students to all aspects of police life, from legal issues to firearm training. And the physical training class is notoriously hard.

Muraco stayed with it and excelled. “Every class that had to do with law enforcement, I couldn’t get enough of.”

Students who complete the Academy not only have an associate degree, they’re also accredited Ohio peace officers. That can give graduates a leg up when applying for jobs. In addition to the Academy, the Law Enforcement program offers a general degree in Law Enforcement and one in Corrections.

Suzanne MuracoAfter graduation, she spent a year as an auxiliary officer at her hometown department, the Hilliard Division of Police. She got hired on full-time in 1995, and now she’s a training and community relations officer.

She credits Scott Wagner, a professor in Law Enforcement, for being a “great mentor.” And Wagner returned the compliment by asking her to teach in the department.

Muraco is now an adjunct instructor in the department, helping teach defensive driving and defensive tactics, and making sure the next class of cadets is ready to hit the streets.