Fairmont State University professor Dr. John McLaughlin is working to help police officers looking to attend college by creating the Dr. John E. McLaughlin Police Scholarship.
McLaughlin, a criminal justice professor, grew up in Miami-Dade County, Florida, where he started his career in law enforcement after receiving his bachelor’s degree. After 26 years, earning his master’s and doctorate degrees, he retired as a lieutenant in the economic crime bureau heading up the Mortgage Fraud Task Force.
Inspired by the program in Miami-Dade County that allowed him to earn his degree, McLaughlin decided it was time to create a similar program at Fairmont State University. The scholarship will provide funding starting in fall 2020 for students who have worked at least two years as a city, county or state police officer to attend Fairmont State either part-time or full-time.
“I decided to donate to the Fairmont State Foundation after seeing a need in the policing community. This allows officers to get their education and become better officers,” McLaughlin said. "Many of the local departments do not offer tuition reimbursement.
Fairmont State Foundation President Julie R. Cryser said law enforcement is such a noble profession. Having a scholarship that will allow those in the profession to further their education is a great resource.
“We are so appreciative for the support that Dr. McLaughlin is providing for local police officers to ensure they are able to continue their education,” she said. “We hope that others will join in this worthy effort to help our city, county and state police become even better educated.”
Fairmont State University President Dr. Mirta Martin said a chance to help others continue their education is an incredible gift.
“Our nation’s police officers are professionals who selflessly protect our communities each and every day,” Martin said. “They deserve the best our communities can offer in return, and via the Dr. John E. McLaughlin Police Scholarship, worthy law enforcement professionals will have the chance to further their education at Fairmont State – a school that truly appreciates their service.”
McLaughlin completed his master’s at Florida International University, where he began teaching part-time after he finished, and doctorate at Lynn University.
“Miami-Dade had a program where they provided tuition reimbursement for all employees. After you completed each course, they would reimburse you 50 percent of your tuition,” he said. “For that reason, I started taking graduate classes and got into a routine and did not stop until I got my master’s and doctorate. I was working two jobs while earning my doctorate. I used the money that I received from teaching and the reimbursements to pay for my education, so I did not have to take out loans.”
In 2013, he came to Fairmont State University as a professor in the Criminal Justice Program, teaching police operations, criminal investigations, crime scene investigations, Spanish for law enforcement, terrorism, advanced criminal law and homeland security.
He also serves, for the past two years, at the Rivesville Police Department and is currently the police chief.
“Being a police officer is an enormously rewarding career when you get to help people stay on track and not let them go down the wrong path in life,” he said. “I also really like chasing and recovering stolen cars.”
McLaughlin said that he would encourage others who can to give to support scholarships for law enforcement.