Patricia Donovan


"I have 38 years in law enforcement. After receiving my Associate degree in criminal justice, I began my career as a Deputy Sheriff for two years with the Albany County Sheriff's Department. Over the nextfour years, I was a Criminal Investigator in the Albany County DA's Office in the Special Victims Unit. I was later hired by the New York State Police, where I served 32 years. I retired a couple of years ago as a Senior Investigator. It went by quickly.

When I started there were very few women on the job, it was a little rough for women back then. I came to SUNY Adirondack to make a speech in 2000 about women in law enforcement. The president at the time asked me if I ever thought about teaching. I had, but an opportunity never presented itself. She asked me to send her my resume, so I did that night. And by the end of that week, I had a job here teaching Criminal Justice. I was full-time State Police at the time, so I could only teach one class. I retired a few years ago, and now I teach two to three classes a semester.

I enjoy all of the students that I have, from the returning adults to the 19 year olds but if they stop coming to my class, I will reach out to them to try to get them to come back. I want them to succeed. I realize that everyone has personal difficulties in life but I don't want to see their education be a casualty of that.

The field is changing. There are many more opportunities for a Criminal Justice major today. There are probation agencies, alcohol/drug rehab programs, cyber and corporate security, and investigator positions in many governmental agencies that do not require attending a police academy. Many agencies also support law enforcement, such as rape crisis, domestic violence programs, prevention councils and DWI victim panels. I have witnessed a lot of change over th e years, all for the better. You can succeed in law enforcement if you put your mind to it.

You can't let life get in the way of your future. I didn't let them stop me because I was a female, I never saw myself as a female trooper, I just saw myself as a trooper."

Patricia Donovan
Criminal Justice Instructor