WHEELING — Dani Hasson has been exposed to law enforcement her entire life thanks to her father, a recently retired Pittsburgh police officer. She has planned to follow in her father’s footsteps for years and she is making strides to continue her dream.
“I just grew up watching him and I was always very intrigued by everything that he did and the calls he went on,” Hasson said.
In addition to being a criminal justice major at West Liberty University, Hasson is an intern with a local drug court.
“I’m an intern, so even going into houses to do drug testing, you’re putting your life on the line. You never know who is going to be in there,” Hasson said.
Since grade school, Hasson knew policing was what she wanted to do, thanks to her father. “This one time, I was in middle school and he was a detective at the time. He got called into work that day, so I came home from school and decided to look at my camera,” Hasson said.
“Well, he took my camera and he forgot to delete the pictures and there was someone who had shot himself. He had to take photos of the crime scene, but I wasn’t turned away at all.”
Hasson said her first thought about the photos was that they were interesting. “I think that really enhanced my interest in criminal justice,” Hasson said.
Though she has always known she wanted a path in law enforcement, Hasson’s father felt differently.
“My senior year of high school I told my dad I wanted to major in criminal justice and he laughed and told me to think again and said it’s not what I’m going to do,” Hasson said.
She enrolled originally as a dental hygiene student, but soon switched to criminal justice regardless of her father’s wishes to lead a different career path.
“I love criminal justice and this is where I want to be. This is what’s going to make me happy and my dad eventually accepted that,” Hasson said.
“I know what he has gone through and he doesn’t want that for me and my mom doesn’t want that for me, but they understand that passion is passion.”
West Liberty University criminal justice professor Keith Bell believes Hasson will make a great asset to the field of criminal justice upon her graduation.
“Dani is a great student who is goal oriented and extremely motivated about excelling in the criminal justice field,”Bell said.
“In my 15-plus years of higher education, I’ve worked with and prepared hundreds of students for the very diverse field of criminal justice. Dani will stand out with whichever organization is lucky enough to earn her services,” Bell added.
Hasson’s ultimate goal is to work at the federal level with undercover narcotics. Until then, she plans on getting her master’s degree, possibly at WLU which has a master’s in criminology program that will soon be totally online.
Though Hasson has been preparing most of her life, she knows she must always be aware of what she is about to encounter.
“You’re always going to have to put yourself in danger in this field. It takes a lot of nerve, but in criminal justice, you are always going to have to that no matter what you get involved in,” Hasson said.
She also knows not everyone will look to her as a protector in her law enforcement role.
“People are going to outright hate me for absolutely no reason and I kind of have to lean back from that,” said Hasson. “I am very pro-police and I think that is because of just my dad. It’s hard because I am very passionate about it and I do want to help people feel safe.”
Hasson is set to graduate in May from WLU. Bell believes she will succeed based not only on her education, but her character.
“She is a great student, a hard worker, and most importantly, a great person who desires to better her community.”
For more information on the criminal justice degree program or the master’s of criminology degree, please contact Dr. Bell at [email protected] To find out more about Ogden Newspapers, visit theintelligencer.net.