Professors/Contacts

​​​​​​​​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.

Professors

Photo of Mike Balas

Mike Balas

Professor, Crim Justice TSA
Off Campus
515-229-5726

Location: Online

Michael Balas is a retired Special Agent with the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Treasury Department.  He was assigned to field offices in Houston, TX, Milwaukee, WI, Savannah, GA and Washington, DC.  Balas is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS).  He has over 30 years' experience in law enforcement as a police officer, U.S. Customs Inspector, and criminal investigator.  As an investigator and supervisor, Balas has served as a member several federal task forces including the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), and the State Department's Terrorist Financing Working Group (TFWG).  Balas was also assigned as a Senior Instructor with the IRS at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).  This included duties as a supervisor with the IRS International Training Team.  While with the IRS, he has developed, coordinated, and delivered hundreds of classes at both domestic and international venues.  Balas has taught numerous investigative courses in 30 different countries including courses sponsored by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Balas has been qualified as an expert witness in money laundering in several U.S. courts. 

Education:

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Accounting at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Armstrong State University.  Forensic Accounting Certificate, University of North Carolina, Charlotte.  Graduate Certificate in Cyber Crime, Armstrong State University.  Information Security Certificate, Villanova University.


Photo of Steve Barger

Steve Barger

Homeland Security Certificate Program Chair; Emergency Management Certificate Program Chair; Professor, Criminal Justice
Ankeny Campus
Building/Room: 3W-37D
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:

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

In the event you have TSA Associate Program questions, DMACC Criminal Justice Degree or Certificate questions, or are unable to reach Steve Barger or Donna Kehr, DMACC Criminal Justice Chair Jessica Cole can be contacted at jlcole2@dmacc.edu or at 515-964-6615.


Wes Breckenridge

Instructor, Criminal Justice
Newton Campus
Building/Room: 01-131
641-791-1746

Wes Breckenridge has joined our team as a full time faculty member in the Criminal Justice Program. He has 27 years of law enforcement experience, serving as an interim chief, lieutenant, investigator, SWAT and in many other areas. He served five years as a Representative for the State of Iowa, as well as the Deputy/Interim Director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

Education:

Wes’s educational background began at Des Moines Area Community College, where he earned is AA degree. Wes also earned a B.S. in Public Administration from Upper Iowa University; a M.A. in Management from the American Military University; and Masters Certificate in Criminal Justice from the University of Virginia. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy


Photo of Jessica Cole

Jessica Cole

Criminal Justice Program Co-Chair; Professor, Criminal Justice
Ankeny Campus
Building/Room: 3W-37E
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​, focusing on core curriculum and other law enforcement topics.​

Education:

BS in Psychology from Iowa State University; MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice from University of Maryland.​


Photo of Danielle Galien

Danielle Galien

Professor, Criminal Justice
Ankeny Campus
Building/Room: 3W-37G
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 coordinator for the Crime Scene Investigation Certificate.​ 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:

Masters degree from Simpson College; Digital Forensics Investigation Certificate from DMACC.


Photo of Jason Junkens

Jason Junkens

Professor, Crim Justice TSA
Off Campus
918-633-4219

Location: Online

Jason began his teaching career at DMACC in August of 2017, and currently serves as a faculty TSA Homeland Security Instructor. He previously served as the Director of Safety and Emergency Management for Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas and as an Emergency Manager for Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He teaches a variety of homeland security and emergency management credit classes including introduction to homeland security, intel analysis and security management, exercise design, basic incident command and mitigation.  Additionally, Jason is an instructor for the Incident Command System, Community Emergency Response Team, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) Basic and Advanced Academies.  He holds several professional certifications including the Certified Emergency Manager from the International Association of Emergency Managers, the FEMA Master Exercise Practitioner certification, and the Project Management Professional from the Project Management Institute.  Jason served as an officer with the United States Army gaining experience in planning and operations prior to his retirement.  

Education: 

BS in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University; MBA in Business Administration from University of Phoenix; MA in Homeland Security from American Military University.


Photo of Thomas Longo

Thomas Longo

Assoc Pr, Criminal Justice TSA
Off Campus
515-782-0579

Location: Online​

Thomas Longo was a career law enforcement officer and administrator, and also served in the intelligence community.  He began his law enforcement career as an officer in the Tampa (FL) Police Department in 1981, and later served as a DEA special agent where he developed complex multi-national cases, and later specialized in clandestine lab investigations until returning to local law enforcement.  He retired as a police chief in 2018.  During these years, he also served on the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Education:

He received a BA in political science and Russian Studies in the early 1980s, and later earned an MA in public policy, and a juris doctor degree.  He also holds an advanced certificate in criminal justice education from the University of Virginia.  He has taught online college courses in criminal justice, ethics, law, homeland security and emergency management since 2008.​


Cory McClure

Instructor, Criminal Justice
Ankeny Campus
Building/Room: 3W-37O
515-965-7334

Photo of Samantha O'Hara

Samantha O'Hara

Criminal Justice Program Co-Chair; Assoc. Professor, Criminal Justice
Ankeny Campus
Building/Room: 03-37H
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. Sam teaches a variety of face-to-face and online classes, focusing on core curriculum and other corrections-related topics.​

Education: 

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


Photo of Tim Spooner

Tim Spooner

CJ Club Advisor; Professor, Criminal Justice TSA
Ankeny Campus
Building/Room: 3W-37L
515-964-6475

​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 Associate in 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.


Photo of Barry Thomas

Barry Thomas

Instructor, Criminal Justice
Ames Hunziker Center
Building/Room: Career Advantage
515-663-6700

​Captain Barry M. Thomas began his law enforcement career with the Story County Sheriff’s Office in 1992 and retired from the same agency on March 30, 2019. During his tenure at the sheriff’s office, he served in many capacities, including time as a jail and patrol deputy, Crime Prevention Officer, Field Training Officer and Supervisor, Emergency Response Team member and commander, Dive Team member, Public Information Officer, Sergeant, Administrative Lieutenant, and spent over 12 years in the position of Chief Deputy. Capt. Thomas was the 2015-2016 President of the FBI National Academy Associates, an international association representing over 17,000 law enforcement administrators worldwide. Capt. Thomas has also previously served as a member of the Board of Directors for the ACCESS shelter in Ames and for the Iowa Crime Prevention Association. He currently sits on the Advisory Board for Guardian Alliance Technologies and is Co-Founder of BCAT Consulting LLC.
 
In 2008, Capt. Thomas was presented with the distinguished Livio A. Beccaccio Award from the FBI National Academy Associates and the Sullivan Brothers Award of Valor by Iowa Governor Chet Culver. Capt. Thomas received both awards for a June 8th, 2007 event in which he saved a young girl’s life by disarming a knife-wielding subject with his bare hands.
 
Education

Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree from Iowa State University, Master of Criminal Justice degree from Boston University,  graduate of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and the F.B.I. National Academy - Session 223, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department at Iowa State University.


Photo of Jay VanKirk

Jay VanKirk

Professor, Criminal Justice
Ankeny Campus
Building/Room: 3W-37C
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. He teaches a variety of face-to-face and online classes, focusing on core curriculum and homeland security courses.​

Education:

Bachelor of Arts degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara; Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from Drake University. ​


Adjunct Faculty

​​Numerous adjunct faculty members drawn from various agencies across the nation contribute to program instruction and curriculum development. Current practitioners and former professionals from law enforcement, judiciary roles, corrections (institutional and community-based), homeland security, emergency management, crime scene, digital forensics, and the private sector, and from all levels of government (local, state, and federal), are represented. Adjunct faculty possess at least a Bachelor’s degree, with most having a Master’s or law degree as well. They all have experience working in their field, and bring that into the classroom for a relevant, practical approach with instruction that is applicable to future careers in the diverse area of criminal justice professions.

Advisor

Amy Wood
Criminal Justice Academic Advisor, Ankeny Campus
ajwood@dmacc.edu
515-964-6395

Academic Advisors are located on each campus, if you prefer to meet with someone at another location.

​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.