​​​​​​​​Faculty

DMACC's Criminal Justice Faculty have years of proven experience and come from a variety of relevant backgrounds, including law enforcement agencies, corrections agencies, and judicial departments at local, state and federal levels. DMACC students receive an unmatched educational experience.

Meet Your Professor(s)

Jessica Cole

Jessica Cole

Program & District Chair
Ankeny Campus
515-964-6615

Jessica began her teaching career at DMACC in January 2014. She served as the project manager for the collaboration with Transportation Security Administration and the Homeland Security Certificate program prior to becoming District Chair for the Criminal Justice Program in August 2016. Jessica is a Criminal Justice Club Advisor, coordinates the internship program for criminal justice students, and is involved in a number of DMACC committees. Before coming to DMACC, Jessica served as a police officer and detective with the Fairfax County Police Department in Northern Virginia, and was a member of the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force. She taught women's self-defense throughout her law enforcement career. She currently teaches a variety of face-to-face and online classes, to include criminal & constitutional law, theories of interviewing, criminal investigation, and police & society.

Education:

B.S. in Psychology from Iowa State University; M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from University of Maryland.

Primary teaching interests:

Criminal Investigations

Steve Barger

Steve Barger

DMACC/TSA Homeland Security Certificate Program Chair
Ankeny Campus
515-964-6525

Steve began his teaching career at DMACC as an adjunct criminal justice instructor in 2010, and assumed full-time teaching duties in the fall of 2016. Steve serves as a Criminal Justice Club Advisor, was a long time member of the DMACC Criminal Justice Advisory Board, and the Indian Hills Community College Digital Forensics Advisory Committee. Steve recently retired from a 20 plus year career with the Iowa Department of Public Safety where he served as an Iowa State Patrol Trooper, Trooper/Vehicle Theft Investigator, Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Intelligence. Steve has served as a Tactical Unit member and spent much of his career working undercover, task forces, and special operations. Steve has served as an instructor and trainer for multiple disciplines at the Iowa Department of Public Safety Academy and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy as well as instructing and training other local, and state, law enforcement officers throughout the Midwest.  Steve teaches a variety of Homeland Security and Criminal Justice credit courses both face-to-face and online.

Education:

Associates of Arts Degree from Des Moines Area Community College and Bachelors Degree in Public Administration with an Emphasis in Law Enforcement from Upper Iowa University.

Primary teaching interests:

Homeland Security, Intelligence, Criminal Investigation, Narcotics Investigation, Tactical Operations, Special Operations, and Undercover Operations.

Cathy Ockenfels

Cathy Ockenfels

Ankeny Campus
515-964-6519

Cathy began her DMACC teaching career as an adjunct criminal justice instructor in 2002, and assumed full-time teaching duties in 2003. She served as the chair of the Criminal Justice Program from 2003-2006. Cathy was a police officer with the Iowa City Police Department for 16 years. She also served as a capitol police officer with the Iowa Department of Public Safety. In addition, Cathy worked as a juvenile court intake counselor in the state of Oregon for three years.

Education:

Masters Degree in Social Work, University of Iowa. She also holds a Bachelor of General Studies degree and an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice.

Primary teaching interests:

Police-community relations.

Steve Martin

Steve Martin

Ankeny Campus
515-965-7334

Steve began his teaching career at DMACC in January, 2006, and currently serves as the Criminal Justice Club Advisor and coordinates the High School Criminal Forensics Program. Steve served for 22 years with the Mt. Pleasant Police Department, spending the last 14 years as a patrol sergeant. He also served as the department's defensive tactics and use of force instructor for 16 years.

Education:

Masters Degree in Criminal Justice, University of Central Missouri, 2005; Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice, Iowa Wesleyan College, 1998; Associates Degree in Law Enforcement, Carl Sandburg College, 1982.

Primary teaching interests:

Criminal investigation, crime scene processing, and police use of force.

Bryan Burkhardt

Bryan Burkhardt

Ankeny Campus
515-965-7096

Bryan Burkhardt is professor of Electronics & Information Technology.  Bryan regularly teaches courses related to electronics, control systems/automation, and information technology.  He is the former chair of DMACC's Electronics programs and is also the former director of the Electronic Crime Institute (ECI) at the college.  He continues to teach courses related to digital investigation and applied computer forensics in the Criminal Justice program at DMACC and speaks regularly on the topics of information security, digital forensics, and online safety in the community.  He has provided investigatory technical assistance to law enforcement throughout the country.  Bryan currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Forensic Association of Computer Technologists (FACT) and is a Certified Forensic Computer Examiner. In addition to his full-time career at the college, he has worked as a part-time, private consultant in the information technology, forensics and engineering fields for more than 20 years.

Education:

Bachelors and Masters Degree in Computer Engineering, Iowa State University.

Primary teaching interests:

Digital Electronics, PLCs, Microcontrollers & Embedded Systems, Network Security, Electronic Crime Investigation & Digital Forensics

Kyle Hess

Kyle Hess

Ankeny Campus
515-965-6036

Kyle began his DMACC teaching career in the fall of 2009. He previously worked at a global engineering firm as an Information Security Analyst; prior to that he worked as a project manager/analyst for a Fortune 500 company. In addition, Kyle served as a commissioner on the Romeoville Police and Fire Commission from 2006-2009.

Education:

Masters Degree in Information Security, Lewis University; Bachelors Degree in Information Technology Management, Lewis University.

Primary teaching interests:

Digital Forensics.

Traci Dow-Wyatt

Traci Dow-Wyatt

Ames Hunziker Center
515-326-0877

Traci Dow-Wyatt taught high school for nine years prior to entering on duty with the FBI as a Special Agent in 1988. Traci has served in both the Denver and Omaha Divisions. Throughout her career, Traci has worked White Collar Crime and was the Crimes Against Children Coordinator and worked reactive crimes. Traci was the case lead investigator on the Central Iowa Employment Training Consortium (CIETC) case, which was the largest public corruption case in the history of the State of Iowa.

Education:

Bachelor's Degree, Marycrest College in Davenport, IA with a degree in Education, Communications, Theater Arts and English

Primary teaching interests:

Hostage Negotiations

Danielle Galien

Danielle Galien

Ankeny Campus; Newton Campus
515-965-7306

​Danielle was a Crime Scene Investigator with Des Moines Police Department for 15 years and taught for DMACC as an adjunct instructor before joining us as a full-time faculty member in August 2015. She currently serves as the High School Criminal Forensics Program instructor at the Newton Career Academy as well as the Ankeny Career Academy. In addition, she teaches several lab classes: Crime Scene Investigation I and II, Death & Injury Investigations, Impressions & Blood Stains, Latent Friction Ridge Evidence, and Forensic Photography.

Education:

She received her Digital Forensics Investigation Certificate from DMACC and her Masters degree from Simpson.

Samantha O'Hara

Samantha O'Hara

Ankeny Campus
515-964-6667

​Samantha began teaching full-time in DMACC’s Criminal Justice department in August 2017.  She also taught part-time at DMACC from 2008 through 2013.  Sam worked at a residential corrections facility in the Iowa 2nd Judicial District Department of Correctional Services for a short time, followed by more than ten years at the U.S. Probation Office for the Southern District of Iowa.  After her federal service, Sam was a law enforcement instructor at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy for about three years.  Most recently, she earned four years’ teaching experience as a full-time faculty member at Simpson College in their Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, where she also held the position of Program Director for the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program.

Education: 

PhD in Criminal Justice from University of Nebraska at Omaha, Master of Arts degree in Sociology and Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, both from the University of Northern Iowa.

Jay Van Kirk

Jay Van Kirk

Ankeny Campus
Building 3W, Room 37L
515-965-7361

​Jay Van Kirk is a retired Special Agent with the U.S. Treasury Department, IRS Criminal Investigation Division, and was assigned to field offices in Los Angeles, CA., Des Moines, IA., Washington, D.C., and St. Paul, MN.  Van Kirk also had two multi-year assignments as an instructor at the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, in Glynco, GA., and a five-year diplomatic assignment as the Treasury Department's Law Enforcement Attaché in Hong Kong, China.  He also had numerous temporary duty assignments as an instructor at the U.S. State Department's International Law Enforcement Academies located in Budapest, Hungary;  Gaborone, Botswana, Africa; and, Bangkok, Thailand.  As a Special Agent, Van Kirk conducted high level criminal investigations as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and worked in program areas in support of the Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, as well as the State Department's Terrorist Financing Working Group.  Van Kirk has extensive experience in the areas of criminal investigation, financial investigative techniques, narcotics money laundering, counter-financing of terrorism, homeland security, undercover operations, dignitary protection, facility security and intelligence operations.

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from Drake University.

Primary teaching interests: Homeland Security, Cyber-Terrorism, Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Financing of Terrorism, and Intelligence.

Tim Spooner

Tim Spooner

Ankeny Campus
Building 3W, Room 37L
515-694-6475

​Tim began his professional career in 1981 as a Deputy Sheriff for Clark County Sheriff's Office in Vancouver, Washington. After a few years on patrol, Tim was promoted to the Detective unit where he investigated child abuse, fraud, and his last assignment was in the homicide unit. Tim was also a Field Training Officer (FTO) member of the department SWAT team, as well as a side handle baton instructor. Tim left the Sheriff's Office in 1991 and went to work for UPS as a Loss Prevention Supervisor, investigating internal and external losses. In 1993 he was promoted to Loss Prevention Manager for the Oregon District. In his role as manager, Tim trained new supervisors in investigation and interviewing techniques. He also managed security operations for the UPS operational facility at the Portland International Airport, complying with all FAA security methods. In 2001 Tim was promoted to UPS District Security Manager for the Iowa District, which included security oversight for Gateway Computer Company in Sioux City, South Dakota. In Iowa Tim managed both security and claim reduction divisions, as well as UPS security for the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids Airports. In 2008 Tim assumed security responsibility for the Missouri and Iowa UPS operations, which included additional airports of St. Louis and Springfield, MO. Tim managed a staff of 30 management and hourly employees that provided security and investigations for all modes of UPS transportation in Missouri and Iowa, including facilities and vehicle fleets. 

Education: Tim received an Associates of Arts Degree in Forestry in 1978 from Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon; a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security, Summa Com Laude from Kaplan University in 2011, and a Master Degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management in 2014 also from Kaplan University.

Primary Teaching Interest: Homeland Security, Emergency Management, Transportation and Border Security.


Adjunct Faculty

Numerous part time adjunct faculty practitioners drawn from various criminal justice agencies and homeland security agencies from across the nation also assist with the program instruction. Homeland security professionals, attorneys, current former and retired police officers, and current, former and retired correctional personnel make up a large component of the part time faculty. All adjunct faculty possess at least a bachelors degree, and most have a masters or law degree. DMACC employs adjunct instructors who work or are retired from criminal justice and homeland security agencies including:

  • Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement
  • Iowa State Patrol
  • Dallas County Sheriff's Office
  • United States Attorney's Office
  • United States Federal Probation
  • Mitchellville Women's Correctional Facility
  • Iowa State University Police
  • Des Moines Police Department
  • State of Iowa 5th Judicial District Probation/Parole
  • Ankeny Police Department
  • Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations
  • City of Ames Attorney's Office
  • State of Iowa 2nd Judicial District

  • Iowa Division of Intelligence
  • Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Safeguard Iowa
  • DMACC Electronic Crime Institute
  • Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Cyber-Crime Unit
  • Transportation Security Administration
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​Employment in the criminal justice field is highly dependent upon one's character and background. Students who have a criminal history may complete the program of study, but it is NOT likely that they will find employment in the criminal justice field, and students with a criminal history may NOT be eligible for an internship, which is required for the AAS degree.