Criminal justice brings back one of its own

Victoria Leggitt

Accepting a faculty position in the criminal justice department at Missouri Southern was, “a dream come true”, for one instructor.

“I always knew teaching here was what I wanted to do, but I thought it would come later in my career,” said Greg Dagnan, assistant professor of criminal justice.

His path to academia began with the Joplin Police department in 1990. He left the department to work as an investigator for two successive prosecutors. In 2002, Dagnan accepted a position as director of the Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri.

The Children’s Center was founded in 1997 to provide a home-like environment for children to give a videotaped interview and receive a physical examination when abuse is suspected. Before the Center opened, children were examined at a hospital and went through a series of interviews, often in more than one location.

Dagnan said, in what he said might seem a coincidence, “I conducted the first interview with a child at the Center.”

During Dagnan’s years at the Center he and Lt. Carl Francis started the local Amber alert program, the Child Abduction Alert System.

As more children were found during raids on meth labs, Dagnan helped develop a protocol to decontaminate them from exposure to the toxic chemicals.

“While Greg was here we were able to purchase another house for our therapy groups and open a center in Nevada to serve children in the northern area,” said Jeannie Stuart, child advocate. “Greg was a supportive, fair director, he was sensitive to the pressures on both clients and staff.”

“With his knowledge of the court system and the special procedures needed to investigate child abuse he will be an asset to the criminal justice program,” Stuart said.

Dagnan, a 1993 graduate of the University, teaches, Community Policing, Patrol Procedures, Crime Scene Investigation I and II and Criminal Law.

“I’ve been told enrollment in the criminal justice program is up 20 percent,” he said.

“The great thing about the increase, and what I like about working with these people, is that yes, they have big classes but the instructors are excited. As long as they can provide quality education for their students that’s what’s important to them. I’ve had job ADD in the past, but I can see myself advancing my career here, I’ll stay as long as they will have me.”

Dagnan is married and has four daughters.

He is on the board of director’s of Children’s Haven of Southwest Missouri.

In his free time he enjoys reading and researching the psychology of magic and illusion.