January 30, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Eric Heiple is doing now what he says he has always wanted to do. He is giving back to his alma mater by serving as a criminal justice instructor at John A. Logan College.

The 28-year-old graduated Murphysboro High School in 2004 and enrolled at Logan that fall, signing up for a variety of CRJ courses as taught by Rick and Micki Ellett.

“When I was a student, I enjoyed having Rick and Micki both as teachers and advisors,” he said. “I think it’s cool to have the opportunity to work with them now. I feel like I have come full circle. It’s exciting to be back at Logan.”

After completing his Associate of Applied Science degree in CRJ, Heiple transferred to SIUC, where he earned his bachelor’s (2008) and master’s degrees (2010) in administrative of justice. While still a student, he held internships at Walt Disney World, where he trained in loss prevention, and with JALC Campus Police. He also worked for Kohl’s as a loss prevention supervisor.

Upon finishing his master’s, Heiple’s career took an interesting twist as he was hired by the United States Secret Service. He was assigned to the White House with the Presidential Protective Division and remained in that capacity for about four years.

For security reasons, Heiple is not at liberty to discuss any details of his work with the Secret Service, but did receive several awards and enjoyed his time in Washington. That said, he longed for Southern Illinois.

“I saw online that a job had opened up in criminal justice at Logan and immediately applied,” Heiple said. “Sometimes, you just have to go where your heart is. Finances were not driving my decision.”

The son of Ron and Terri Heiple of Murphysboro, Eric has one brother, Jay. Eric has been married almost seven years, meeting his wife, Alec, when interning at Walt Disney World. The couple have two daughters, Ella, 4, and Aubrey, 18 months.
“Family and church (The Vine in Carbondale) brought me back to Southern Illinois,” he said. “I am thrilled to teach where I first learned about criminal justice. I feel I can help my students. I know what to look for when applying for a job. I know what employers are looking for, too.”

Heiple is teaching seven CRJ classes at both the 100 and 200 levels (Terrorism and Homeland Security; Police Administration; Criminal Behavior; Crime Detection Methods; and Introduction to Security).

“When I first came to Logan, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” he said. “But after spending time with the Elletts, I got more focused and soon learned what path I wanted to take. Now, I get to give back some of that which I have learned. And I couldn’t be happier.”

A physical fitness expert, Heiple has extended his reach at JALC to athletics, serving as strength and conditioning coach with the softball program.

“Rick asked me to help and I couldn’t say no,” Heiple said. “Working out is kind of a hobby with me and I am more than happy to help out where I can. What I do for the girls is design their workouts and help develop a summer routine when away from campus. I also provide some nutrition information and I attend practices and games as often as time allows.”

Ellett said he is glad to have Heiple working with him at the college.

“He was such a quiet, focused, and intense student. Any assignment, project, volunteer activity, etc. was just another typical daily challenge for him.”

Ellett said Heiple has the personality and interpersonal skills to be a successful instructor.

“I think he will be a great asset to many CRJ students at Logan, now and in the future. And he brings his intensity to the softball team as a volunteer coach. He is driven and the girls have responded. I am truly fortunate to work with Eric on a daily basis.”