Kyle MacCallum moved from one border region of North America to another after earning his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) in December 2017.
"In my last year of college, I applied to the United States Border Patrol," he said. "I started taking summer classes to finish early, because I had already started the application process. I only applied for the Arizona area, and I had job offers for two different positions before I graduated."
MacCallum is now working as an agent in Ajo, Arizona. His father, Kenny, is a U.S. Customs officer in northern Maine. His older brother, Kevin, who graduated with an associate degree in criminal justice from UMPI in 2008, is a U.S. Customs officer in Montreal.
"I knew I wanted to be in Arizona because I have another brother, Scott, who lives here," he said. "I have been here for two-and-a-half years. It's a little bit different from Maine. It's a little bit hotter down here."
The knowledge that MacCallum gained in the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program at UMPI helped him hit the ground running after graduation.
"It gave me an advantage for my training in the Border Patrol Academy," he said. "We covered a large portion of U.S. immigration law and constitutional law in the program. The initial part of our law courses was all constitutional law.
"Then, we got deeper into the actual way to apply those laws correctly within the constitution. All of the courses I took in the bachelor's program put me way ahead of my classmates at the academy. I was already going into those courses with a baseline knowledge."
MacCallum grew up in Presque Isle. He took classes at the Caribou Technology Center to earn UMPI credit toward his degree as a senior in high school.
While enrolled on campus, he worked full time and served as a reserve officer for the Limestone Police Department. Nowadays, the MacCallum family is keeping borders safe together in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
"My father got me interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement," he said. "It is almost a competition amongst us because we are all doing basically the exact same job. It feels good to be a part of that and to help people for a living."
CRJ 201: Canadian Criminal Justice, an elective, was MacCallum's favorite course in the curriculum. He completed all but two courses on campus at UMPI.
"[Canadians] have started to look at more reformative justice instead of punitive justice. It was interesting to see how they have affected recidivism in that course."
Since graduating from UMPI, MacCallum has enjoyed living in Arizona and spending time with his brother. He comes back to Maine to visit once a year.
"I am an avid mountain biker and skier, which is hard to do in Arizona," he said. "My brother and I usually plan a trip each year. We have gone to Colorado the last two years — Pagosa Springs and Telluride."
MacCallum loves his job, which he started in January 2018, but he is also keeping his career options open. For now, he is gaining valuable experience that builds on his sturdy educational foundation.
"I have looked at a few different things and whether I want to stay in the Border Patrol or not," he said. "If I do stay in the long term, I could pursue a position in some of our specialized units. There's a program that would be interesting called BORSTAR, which is our search and rescue team.
"In that program, you can get EMT or paramedic-level training. You do some tactical work, but a lot of it is search and rescue. It's a cool program. You help lost hikers. There are a lot of mountainous areas, national parks and national forests where people go exploring. Our Border Patrol, Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) team does search and rescue for them, as well."
No matter which direction MacCallum takes his law enforcement career, he believes that his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from UMPI will continue to benefit him in the future.
"It has definitely put me ahead in the general knowledge and application of our job," he said. "It has given me a solid understanding of leadership, which could be an advantage down the line if I were to pursue something in supervision. Attending UMPI was a great decision."
Learn more about UMPI's online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program.
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