New Drone Pilot Program Featured in Oakton “Spotlight” Series

Sergeant Aldo Schumann (left) observes Oakton student Nicholas Andriacchi (right) demonstrating the use of magnetic powder in the development of latent fingerprints.
Des Plaines, Ill. (Sept. 22, 2023) – Over 50 community leaders, including local law enforcement professionals, industry partners, and Oakton College Educational Foundation supporters got an up-close look at how Oakton College is preparing students for careers in public services using modern techniques/technology, Sept. 21. Oakton College Educational Foundation hosted the "Spotlight On: Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice" event at the Des Plaines campus, featuring a drone demonstration in advance of the "Drone Pilot Operator Certificate" program launch in Spring ‘24.

“The Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice program uses cutting-edge technology and techniques that enable its student's career readiness,” said Jim Humenik, associate professor and chair of the Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice program and former police officer. ”Drones are becoming critical tools for first responders as they allow for a faster response in situations where every second counts. We are proud to bring this new program to Oakton to support our students in adding another tool to their toolkit and being better prepared to serve our communities.”

Drone technology is widely used in public safety for search and rescue situations. The infrared capabilities allow searchers to find people in remote areas and photograph traffic crashes and crime scenes. Law enforcement agencies also use drones to monitor large crowds during public gatherings to prevent dangerous situations.

Other employment opportunities for drone pilots include photographers, cinematographers, realtors, and maintenance personnel who use the technology's photographic and video capabilities.

During the spotlight event, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Program faculty, students and alumni demonstrated applications of police strategies and tactics and crime scene investigations. Attendees saw how investigators take photographs, complete a rough sketch/notes and collect evidence, including blood, gunshot residue, weapons and shoeprints and fingerprints. Participants also watched real-world scenarios and responses to patrol “knock and talk” and warehouse break-ins.

Oakton’s Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice program helps students gain the broad, interdisciplinary set of skills needed through a 60-credit-hour associate in applied science degree, a 62-credit-hour associate in arts degree pathway, and an 18-credit-hour certificate in Forensics or Private Security. Recent program completers are now members of local police departments including in Evanston, Winnetka and Chicago.

The Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice program is intended for students either just out of high school considering future career options, or those in the field looking to expand their career opportunities. The program focuses on community relations, ethics, and procedural justice and allows students to think and act independently, enabling them to craft solutions to real-world problems. To learn more, visit Oakton’s website.

The Oakton College Educational Foundation’s “Spotlight On: Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice” is part of a continuing series highlighting Oakton College’s exceptional educational programs, learning experiences, and faculty who train the workforce of today and tomorrow. The Educational Foundation proudly supports the mission and vision of the College by raising funds for student scholarships, academic programs, teaching excellence and capital improvements that enhance the quality of education at Oakton.

If you have interest in enabling the success of Oakton students and enhancing Oakton programs through charitable giving, contact the Educational Foundation at or 847-635-1893.