Brian Haughton ’05 SCPS comes from a long line of men who have been of service to others — both grandfathers, his father and uncle all were Philadelphia police officers. So it’s not surprising that he found his way to a career serving the public. He jokingly calls police work the “family business.”
But he is all seriousness when discussing his 28-year career in the criminal justice field. He learned as he went, starting as a juvenile court officer, and earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Community College of Philadelphia. After his 1995 graduation from the Police Academy, he learned fast as an officer in the Kensington section for five years. He always wanted to work with Philadelphia’s SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team, and did that full time for eight years as a sniper and EMT.
Never content to tread water, Haughton used his assignment to the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift as the catalyst to get back to school. He talked with another officer who attended Chestnut Hill College and learned about the evening program through the School of Continuing & Professional Studies and the discount given to members of the Philadelphia Police Department, and the die was cast.
“I often had to go to court during the day, worked all night, and slept a little bit and then attended classes,” Haughton remembers. “It wasn’t easy, but I accomplished it.”
“My degree [BS in Criminal Justice] taught me how to think outside the box and met my desire to constantly improve myself. Every day is a chance to learn something new,” he adds.
Now a corporal and instructor at the Police Academy, he teaches recruits as well as in-service officers in emergency vehicle operations and vehicle pursuits. He also teaches state-mandated classes in terrorism, hazmat, hostage situations and more. He maintains his certification with weapons and SWAT team and was activated for the Pope’s visit in 2015 and the Democratic National Convention in July.
He is also an adjunct instructor at SCPS, teaching criminal justice, criminal law and procedure, policing classes, senior seminar and a terrorism special topics class.
“Wherever I can bring my experience to benefit others, that’s what I try to do,” he says. And he remembers his roots. “I sat in the same seats at CHC as my students do, and I remember that. CHC has been so wonderful to me, and to us (the police department). I’m a big fan of the school and the SSJs. With the support structure it has in place, it feels like family. And I try to bring that to the classroom. I’m proud of how I can help others progress.”