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Former Landscaper Finds Career Fulfillment in Law Enforcement

March 01, 2012

Rob Wetzel  
Sgt. Rob Wetzel, pictured with his daughter Kaitlyn, has been a member of the Ballwin Police Department for 17 years. He earned an associate degree in criminal justice from St. Louis Community College.

As the 21-year-old owner/operator of a landscape business, Rob Wetzel decided he needed more stability in his life. So he changed his personal landscape and embarked on a career in law enforcement.

Wetzel’s journey down this new path in life began at the St. Charles County Police Academy; now he’s a 17-year veteran of the Ballwin Police Department.

“I’ve had many friends who were police officers, and it was a career that was always in the back of my mind,” said Wetzel, who resides in Kirkwood.

Like many departments in the area, Ballwin requires its officers to have college degrees to ascend in rank. Completely focused on this new career, Wetzel opted to earn an associate degree in criminal justice at St. Louis Community College-Meramec. Through combination of classroom and online courses, Wetzel completed his degree requirements in two years. 

In 2009, Wetzel was promoted to sergeant after serving the department as a narcotics detective and general assignment detective.  He currently is assigned to the department’s Division of Patrol.

“Taking 15 hours a semester was tough while working full time,” Wetzel said. “Online classes allowed me to manage my time appropriately, and I appreciated the flexibility of the course schedule and the understanding nature of the professors.”

Through STLCC’s criminal justice program and the college experience in general, Wetzel said he has greatly improved his time and stress management skills, is a better communicator and has gained greater understanding of the philosophy of corrections and supervision.

With greater stability in his career and life, which now includes his wife Carrie and daughter Kaitlyn, who is six, Wetzel has taken courses at Saint Louis University with an eye toward a bachelor’s degree – and promotion in rank.

Individuals interested in careers in law enforcement are invited to attend a special criminal justice program information session 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, in room 201 of the Student Center at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, 11333 Big Bend Road.  Prospective students will:

  • Learn about academic requirements and career options.
  • Participate in interactive sessions.
  • Find out how to get started at STLCC.

Registration for the information session is requested; call 314-539-5002 or visit  to reserve your place. For more information, call 314-539-5002 or e-mail AskUs@stlcc.edu. Individuals with disabilities who have accommodation needs should call 314-539-5002.