Monday, May 29, 2023

Class of 2023: A Dream Has Finally Come True!

(Griffith Park Observatory, Hollywood, CA)

May 29, 2023, Memorial Day

Those who have known me for a long time, know, one of my dreams in life is to obtain a degree in criminal justice. With the help of some very special people, my dream has finally come true! This is an amazing story, so I hope you can put some time aside and read it.

Getting to the finish line of my degree in Criminal Justice Administration Management signifies an exceptional milestone for me. Sometimes I wonder how all this was possible, but then I count the good people in my life who taught me how to seize the day and give me guidance, strength, and remarkable, heroic example of how to achieve my goals. 

My friend and mentor Captain Joseph R. John who served with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is a retired Captain of the United States Navy and runs a committee in support of electing veterans to the United States Congress helped me select my graduation gown. His PAC is called Combat Veterans for Congress.

To add context to the value of my relationship with Capt. John, my late father, Fred A. Datig Sr. was a combat veteran honorably discharged from the U.S. Army after World War II with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

My graduation gown is a traditional white for women graduates. Capt. John and I decided together what color the gown should be.

I decided what the stole, tassel, and honors cords should be and of course to wear my crime fighter “Jack Maple shoes” which you will see in the picture at the end of this commemoration.

The purple tassel signifies my father’s Purple Heart and is in honor of his service. I will be giving a purple tassel to all who helped me get to the end of this degree program.

The red color of the dress I am wearing symbolizes R.E.D. and stands for "Remember Everyone Deployed," like they remembered my father when he was discovered in Europe in a field, a day and a half after he was hit with shrapnel with his feet nearly frozen. At the time of his discharge, my father was 45% disabled, and before the time of his passing, he was 100% disabled.

The cords signify as follows:

• White and Red for the Swiss members of my family
• Maroon is standard for honors (magna cum laude)
• Yellow is symbolic of prosperity and is for those who gave financial support so I could stay in school and complete my degree.

A very special thanks to one of the greatest legends of legal minds, Mark Geragos!

A very special thanks to New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik who is the driving engine motivating me to complete this degree program above all else without compromise. His example of service to our country will never be forgotten and will be remembered in a very special way by me. Please keep reading to find out why!

A very special thanks to my anonymous donor “R***,” who stood by me through it all and came through for me when I needed him the most.

Also, very special thanks to Howard Hakes who helped me become a winner in so many ways. I could not have gotten here without you!

Several of my former bosses also gave me student aid and my university, the University of Phoenix gave me a scholarship for one of my last classes.

It is important to note, with all the changes we are seeing in the criminal justice system, scholarships are very tough to qualify for, which makes the assistance I received even more precious and meaningful to me.

The stole with the stars and stripes signifies the honor to graduate in the United States of America and honoring the sacrifice those gave so that we can be free in America. The stole, however, also signifies something I learned when I connected online with former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik who ran the largest rescue operation in the history of the United States as New York City Police Commissioner during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and also ran Rikers Island correctional institution for six years.

I discovered while reading about the victims of 9/11 that NASA sent the Space Shuttle up to space carrying 6,000 small American flags for the victims of 9/11 on the day of my birthday, December 5, 2001. September 11, 2001, was also during the same time I entered politics in Los Angeles when I began my work for now former California State Senator and Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden who is also a Military Police veteran and served on the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Safety for eight years.

I also have a 9/11 Memorial license plate that arrived on Christmas of 2016 in my mailbox. The name for my license plate PLTX4U (politics for you) was something I came up with while working with Nate Holden who contributed to a vast amount of my knowledge about the criminal justice system.

In 2013, life brought on many changes. I had just graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in Communications and was asked to drop my criminal justice studies to produce a popular radio show full-time. I reluctantly agreed, reluctantly because the study of the criminal justice system has always interested me since my mid-teenage years when I myself became a victim of serious crimes.

Life got busy and I didn't get another chance to complete this degree until Covid-19 came around. But ultimately, it was my voluntary work with Commissioner Kerik after connecting with him online while researching content involving violent crime during the 2020 summer riots that inspired me to make a renewed commitment and finish this degree. In August 2020, I reworked my student loans and was able to re-package everything so I could go back to school and complete this very challenging degree. 

When I told Commissioner Kerik I was going back to school to complete my degree in criminal justice administration management he said; "You better get an A!" No pressure! I did all this while at the same time recovering from a spinal injury which is finally getting better.

There are several others who helped inspire me to finish my degree, some who even stepped in and helped me with my papers. One of those people is Los Angeles Police Department Captain III (ret.) James Setzer, whom I met at a town hall on homelessness in Los Angeles where he gave a presentation for the police department. He helped me gain a clear understanding of how statistical mathematical analysis is conducted for what is known as "predictive policing." Captain Setzer is also retired from the United States Air Force.

The other is my friend and media mentor Pete Demetriou who is a longtime reporter with CBS News radio and has more than 13 Golden Mic Awards. Pete helped me with my papers on wildfires and emergency management.

I also got letters of recommendation for scholarships from some of my professors in Criminology, Inter-Agency Communication, and Criminal Justice Policy and Program Evaluation. I am also honored to have received scholarship letters from officials in policing such as now-retired Beverly Hills Police Department Lieutenant Sammy Lee and the Los Angeles Police Department Captain III James Setzer (ret.). 

I did achieve a 4.0 GPA recognition on two separate occasions for my academic achievement and was also placed on the President's and Dean's List of my university, the University of Phoenix.

Many gave moral support including Nate Holden who gave early “congratulations.” 

Also a special thanks to Retired LAPD/OCID Detective III Supervisor Michael Gervais for encouraging me with thoughtful messages to finish strong.

The last day of my degree program is May 29th, 2023, Memorial Day.

Thank you to all who have been steadfast in their support of me finally crossing the finish line and making this dream come true.

God Bless America! Land of the Free. Home of the Brave.

Alex Datig 

(Alex wears her "Jack Maple shoes" - Griffith Park Observatory, Hollywood, CA)

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