Ron Burns will teach Law Enforcement Technology at Rio Salodo College
Rio Salado College’s newest Law Enforcement Technology faculty member is a familiar face for Tempe Residents.
Ron Burns, a former Tempe chief of police began his duties at Rio Salado this month. Burns spent more than three decades in law enforcement as a Tempe cop, assistant chief and chief before accepting the position at Rio Salado.
“This is a great opportunity for me. I always wanted to impact the training police officers receive and in this position I can do that,” said Burns.
A Northern Arizona University graduate, Burns initial goal was to teach. But in 1971 when he graduated from NAU there were no suburban teaching jobs to be had.
With a wife and family to support Burns re-evaluated his choice of career composing a list of attributes he wanted in a job.
“Every item on my list of things I wanted fit with a police officer,” said Burns. Hired as a regular “beat cop” in the early 70’s, Burns spent 21 years patrolling the streets of Tempe and serving in almost every assignment available.
In 1988 he was promoted to assistant police chief and served in that position until 1993. Prompted by his desire to attain the top position in the department, he left Tempe to be the police chief in Kirkland, Washington, a city of 40,000 located on the east side of Seattle.
In 1995 he returned to the city of his roots serving as the police chief for Tempe until 2000. Following a brief stint at a non-profit, Burns found he missed police work too much and returned to law enforcement serving as chief of police of Lakewood, Colorado, a city of about 150,000 in the Denver suburbs. He retained that title until his recent hire at Rio Salado.
He’s glad to be back in the East Valley where most of his family still resides including three sons and five grandchildren. He is also excited to be part of one of the largest criminal justice education programs in the country.
Rio Salado has been a leader in law enforcement education since 1990 providing education to law enforcement agencies around the country.
Rio Salado’s LET program offers both a certificate of completion and an associate in applied science in law enforcement technology degree. Classes start every Monday allowing students to start their general education classes at any time.
The department also works extensively with several police agencies around the state offering certified course work and certified instructors for basic training. Those agencies include the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy, (ALEA) which offers police academy training for officers from around the state. Additionally Rio Salado partners with the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Department, Mesa Police Department, Mesa Fire Department, Arizona Department of Safety and the Arizona Department of Corrections. Students can receive up to 39 college credit hours for completing their basic training. The 39 hours is nearly two thirds of the way to earning an associate degree, said Jim Hornburg Public Safety Manger at Rio Salado College.
“An associate degree is becoming the standard for higher education for police officers. Officers need a degree to be promoted or to get specialty assignments. Our online classes make it a lot easier,” said Hornburg.
For more information about Rio Salado Law Enforcement Program call 480-517-8540 or visit the Rio Salado Web http://www.riosalado.edu/law_enforcement/