Gannon is full of interesting and unique people who teach and prepare students to enter the world of the profession they dream of being part of. One of these people at GU is Dr. Gerald Clark, Assistant Professor of the Criminal Justice program.
Dr. Clark has a lot of experience in the field of criminal justice from being in law enforcement for 27 years. Clark’s career in enforcement started in Erie where he worked as a parole officer. Eventually, Clark moved to Philadelphia to work for the NCIS division of Philadelphia. Clark then worked in Cleveland for the DEA for five years. While working in divisions in many towns, Clark was continually applying for the FBI, hoping to be able to get his ultimate dream job: FBI agent. Even after multiple rejections, Clark never gave up on his dream and eventually got the job as an FBI agent in the Cincinnati division, where he was stationed in Dayton.
After working in Dayton, Clark moved back to Erie to serve on the force for 10 years, helping solve many cases – including the “Pizza Bomber” case where he was the lead detective. Dr. Clark now teaches here at Gannon in the Criminal Justice program.
Some of the major cases Dr. Clark worked on during his years in law enforcement include tracking down the FBI’s top ten fugitives, bank robberies, violent crimes, and the Pizza Bomber case, which Clark wrote a book about.
Clark has also written a book about the evolution of the bank robbery titled “A History of Heists: Bank Robbery in America,” a subject he knows about first-hand. When asked about the evolution of the robbery, Clark said, “it has evolved from going to the bank and robbing it, to becoming digital and being done in someone’s basement; this is why the amount of bank robberies has declined.”
The psychology of the robber or the criminal is a subject that is very interesting to Dr. Clark. He says what interests him is not what they did, but instead it is why they did it and the events that triggered the person.
With his success following the Pizza Bomber case, two successful books and his 27 years of experience on the force, Dr. Clark goes around the country talking about the science of the heist. Some of these places he has given speeches include Florida, Toronto, Winnipeg, and the RIOT (Robbery Investigators of Texas) convention in Texas.
Most of his work today is in the classroom, which is an achievement that Clark says is very rewarding for him. Clark was one of the people whose idea it was to create a crime and forensic center for the Criminal Justice program.
The Crime and Forensic Center is equipped with tools that teach the students about the world of criminal justice in interactive, hands-on ways. Some of these teaching tools include the firearms simulator that replicates intense, high-risk situations that people in law enforcement face every day. Another resource the center offers is a interactive forensic simulator that creates a crime scene and puts the student in the shoes of a detective, giving the student the task of investigating a crime scene.
While working in law enforcement, Dr. Clark said he woke up every morning excited to go to work. Today as a teacher, he still feels the same way; this time, he’s excited to pass his knowledge onto future law enforcers.