Skills Learned at LVC Lead to Law Enforcement Career for Michael Dougherty '15

As a police officer in the Philadelphia area, Michael Dougherty ’15 utilizes many of the skills he learned during his time at The Valley. It was also through the support of LVC faculty and staff that he started on his career path before he even graduated.

The summer between his junior and senior years, Dougherty interned with the University of Pennsylvania Police Department—the same department he is now working for full-time. 

“I learned a lot in my short time with Penn and it guided my decision to become a police officer,” he said. “During my senior year I decided that I wanted to join the police academy and begin my career as a police officer as soon as possible.”

The Sociology Department helped Dougherty get an early start, developing an internship plan that allowed him to live at home in the greater Philadelphia area and attend the Delaware County Municipal Police Academy during his senior year. That May, he graduated from LVC with his degree. In June, he graduated from the academy and in July he started full-time employment with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) as a transit police officer. He worked for SEPTA almost a year before returning to Penn.

Through collaborative research with faculty, networking with adjunct instructors who worked in the field, and leadership positions with Tau Kappa Epsilon, Dougherty learned many lessons during his undergraduate days.

“Being in charge of risk management in a small fraternity at a small school may not seem like a big responsibility, but as someone developing as a young professional, it enables your ability to lead your peers in the right direction—even if the right direction isn’t always popular,” Dougherty said. 

Later, as president of TKE, he said, “Being president again taught me that making decisions you believe are right are not always popular.”

The greatest skill Dougherty continues to utilize on a daily basis is public speaking, noting that while oral presentations were feared, they are also useful and important.

“In my line of work you need to be able to speak to people both one-on-one and in large groups,” he said. “My time at The Valley, and especially with the Sociology Department, helped me overcome any fear of public speaking and to be able to engage with people in public succinctly, concisely, and with clarity.”