Sapulpa Police Captain Glenn Coffey and his son Rylan simultaneously received Associate’s Degrees from Tulsa Community College recently, in Business Administration and Criminal Justice, respectively.
Coffey says he began his pursuit of a Criminal Justice degree from Tulsa Junior College in the fall of 1993, after graduating from Cleveland High School. He continued on this path until he broke into the law enforcement arena three years later, and thought a Business Administration degree might someday be more helpful to his career.
He began by “taking a class here and there,” but finished strong this fall with multiple classes. Coffey says, “getting married, having six kids, working full-time and part-time jobs” along with the hardships of helping his father with his liver transplant, losing his only daughter Elaine in a car accident in 2012, and undergoing his own liver transplant last year, deterred him from being able to enroll in multiple classes a semester and finishing quickly.
Rylan, who attended Sapulpa Public Schools until his junior year then finished high school with Epic Charter Schools in 2017, “always knew he wanted to do law enforcement,” according to his father, and therefore went the Criminal Justice route in college.
In early summer, Glenn and Rylan realized how close they both were to having enough credits to receive Associate’s Degrees, and Rylan, having honed the law enforcement idea to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, knew OHP was accepting applications to their academy at the end of the year. OHP requires academy applicants to be at least 23 years old and to have an associate’s degree or 62 hours of college credit, which was the impetus to “get ‘er done.”
Coffey explains, “We planned it in the summer when we realized we could” make the push to finish together this fall. “We thought, ‘This would be neat,’” he relates. So he enrolled in the most credit hours he has taken at once in the last 27 years, one class in the summer and three in the fall, and Rylan committed to two summer classes and five in the fall.
Both men continued to work full-time while pursuing their degrees—Captain Coffey at his 24-year long career with the Sapulpa Police Department while virtually attending classes at TCC, and Rylan at area QuikTrips during his classes, a mix of in-person and virtual sessions.
“It felt great to finally get the associate’s degree, as it was a long work in progress,” Captain Coffey told Sapulpa Times. “To be able to graduate from the same college on the same day with Rylan just made it that much more incredible and memorable.”
Although Coffey initially said he was “undecided” about whether or not he will continue his collegiate education, wondering whether after 24 years in policing if it would be beneficial, he ultimately says he probably will “go ahead and get a Bachelor’s degree.”
As for Rylan, he has submitted his application to the OHP academy and is in the testing phase now.