Skip to content

An interview with Patrick Correa

What was your career path before you entered the field of criminology?

I was a counselor at a group home at the tender age of 20. Not long after, I got a job answering 911 calls with American Medical Response. By the time I was 23 I knew I had a passion for working with at-risk youth and dealing with emergency situations, so working for Stanislaus Co. Juvenile Hall seemed a natural progression.

How did you begin your career? What motivated you to take this path?

I began my career as part-time Probation Corrections Officer I in 1998. I worked my way up the chain to PCOII and PCOIII, and retired as a Supervising Probation Corrections Officer in 2020. It started out as a job, but soon turned into a career.

There were many factors motivating me to take this path. Juvenile Halls are epicenters for the lost, broken, hurt and misguided, so I was given an opportunity to make a change every day. I also was very aware that a majority (but not all) of those incarcerated in jails and prisons started out in Juvenile Hall, so why not try to nip in the bud? 

The fact that there were many opportunities in the department also motivated me to take this path. Accomplished opportunities include:

  • Lead Defensive Tactics Instructor
  • OC Pepper Spray Instructor
  • Armed Unit/ Transport Officer
  • House Arrest Supervisor
  • Field Training Supervisor
  • Lead Peer Support Coordinator
  • Core Training Program Lead Instructor

Why did you want to become a teacher?

For 22 years, any officer working for the Stanislaus Co. Probation Dept. was required to take—at the very least—a 4-hour class that I taught. In other words, I was able to teach every single person going into the field, whether they worked in Juvenile Hall, Adult Probation or Juvenile Probation.

For a majority of my career, the classes involved Defensive Tactics and/or Pepper Spray. However, in 2015 I was certified to teach STC Core. The Core training was offered to multiple Juvenile Hall agencies all over California. With the multitude of new classes, I was offered the opportunity to teach each of the following:

  • Communications
  • Report Writing
  • De-escalation techniques
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Ethics
  • Mental Health

Why are you interested in teaching at IOT?

Teaching at IOT allows me to do what simply comes naturally. I am very aware I’m at the end of my career and I want to continue to educate, inspire and encourage the new generation. Seeing others succeed has always been my motivation. IOT allows me to do that.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Awards, certifications and badges are all great professional accomplishments I suppose. However, my greatest professional accomplishment is seeing those whom I’ve had the honor of teaching and/or encouraging going out and becoming amazing officers—and really good people.

How do you use technology in the classroom?

I’ve been known as the “YouTube Teacher” for as long as I can remember. The canvas outline is always followed, but with Studio I’m able to utilize additional videos. There is not one day that we don’t utilize a current video to build a connection to the topic at hand.

How do you motivate students?

As an instructor, the main way to motivate students is to stay motivated yourself! Students will be a mirror to whatever instructor is in front of them. If I want positive, excited, ethical students then I have to be positive, excited and ethical. I ask every student, “What is your Why?” and remind them of their answers every now and then. 

What would you say to a prospective student about the CERM program?

I would advise students to genuinely evaluate the pros and cons of this career. If the pros weigh on your side, go two feet in. If they don’t, then two feet out. Don’t sit on the fence. Fences make horrible seats.

I would also give my “Disneyland Fast Pass” speech. If you buy a fast pass at Disneyland it enables you to move to the front of the line. It does cost a bit more, but you don’t have to wait in long lines. An IOT AA degree is your fast pass. It might cost a bit more; however, when you apply to a job it will get you to the front of the line.