I did not want anything to stop me from finishing my degree.
To many students, a college degree is viewed as the starting point for their professional life. But for Peter Salicco, a college education was the catalyst to take an already successful career to a new level.
Peter’s career in law enforcement and criminal investigation began in 1985 when he joined the police force. Fourteen years later, he decided to make the jump to the civilian side of law enforcement as a crime scene investigator. After making that decision, Peter felt it was important to distinguish himself as an expert in his newly chosen field.
“My forensic mentors – as well as reading the signs of the times – led me to seek certification and education,” Peter explains.
In his quest to boost his professional credentials, Peter first sought out industry-specific certifications. Over the next few years, he earned a certification from the International Association for Identification (IAI), and became a Certified Latent Print Examiner (CLPE) and a Certified Crime Scene Analyst (CCSA)1.
Even with all those certifications and his decades of professional experience, Peter still felt like he might be held back because he didn’t have a college degree. So in 2007, he enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice program at Ashford University. Once he was enrolled, Peter demonstrated remarkable determination to finish his degree – even when life threw him a terrible curveball.
“In 2008, I was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to have surgery to remove my left upper lung” Peter says. “Ashford and my advisor worked with me during this period and allowed me to stay enrolled as I did not want anything to stop me from finishing my degree. I was in my forties at the time and knew if I stopped I might not come back!”
He didn’t stop, and Peter’s commitment to education began paying off professionally even before he graduated.
“At the same time as my cancer diagnosis, I also received a job offer with the Dallas Police Department to be their first civilian latent print examiner,” Peter says. “My interview went very well and they were ready to hire me – partly because I was pursuing the completion of my bachelor’s. I then found out I had cancer and let my contact know. He told me to get the surgery, start treatments and, if I still wanted the job, it was mine.”
Peter completed his treatments, accepted the job with the Dallas Police Department, and finished his bachelor’s degree in 2010. Having found success in higher education, Peter turned around and came right back to Ashford for a graduate degree. He enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program and graduated with his second Ashford degree in 2012.
To add to his list of accomplishments, Peter is also an inventor. He designed a fiberglass fingerprint brush for crime scene investigators that is reusable and more durable than existing models. He designed a forensic comparison stand, too.
Two degrees, a rewarding job, and a creative side-business: all achieved after the age of 40. “Consider me a late bloomer,” Peter says.
 Certifications not offered at Ashford University.