Professor Spotlight: Daniel Swanson

If you were to ever attend one of Daniel Swanson’s classes, you would learn two things very fast. First, he has a colorful vocabulary, and second, you will get a realistic idea of what being a police officer really means.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Swanson dedicated 20 years of his life to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

While on the force, Swanson attended University of Nevada, Las Vegas, part-time from 1985-2007 where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and his Master of Arts in Criminal Justice in 2010.

“They should give me a plaque for being there for over 20 years,” Swanson said. “I just loved school. So I just would go to one class after another, and I would keep changing my degree.”

When Swanson wasn’t in the classroom, he was patrolling the streets of Las Vegas and enjoyed his time on the force.

“Overall, it was a great job,” Swanson said. “I worked with a lot of amazing people. I mean there were definitely bad days, a lot of bad days. Which is why it is nice here. You don’t really have bad days here.”

Upon retiring, Swanson knew he wanted to go on and do other things, but he didn’t know exactly what. Later that year, he helped his daughter move to Logan to go to Utah State University, and decided to stay for a summer and fly fish.

During that time, Swanson became certified to teach officers at the Stockton Police Department in Tooele. He also became an adjunct professor at Broadway University.

After working at Broadway University for three years, Swanson applied for a position in the SUU Criminal Justice Department.

Swanson has now spent the last five years educating his students by giving them real life examples from his time as a police officer. He doesn’t tell his students how to do things. Instead, Swanson explains to them what did and, more importantly, what did not work for him as a police officer.

“Criminal justice is an interesting field… it’s not like chemistry where I can tell them all of this interesting knowledge I have,” Swanson said. “I find I end up telling my students more of the things that didn’t work. Really what I do is try to prepare my students for what the world is like out there in the profession.”


Swanson wants to set his students up for success by being honest and upfront with them. Jordan Call, a criminal justice major from Boston, has enjoyed the courses he’s taken from Professor Swanson.

He is someone who doesn’t beat around the bush,” Call said. “His extensive experience in law enforcement makes him a valuable contributor to the criminal justice program. His classes are informative, discussion based and entertaining. I highly recommend him to any CJ student.”

In his time at SUU, Swanson has proven himself to be an invaluable resource fro SUU students. His classes are informative, discussion-based and entertaining. It’s no wonder why he is so universally loved by his students.

“Everyone always ask me how long I am going to keep going and I say, ‘I don’t know, until I have a bad day,’” Swanson said. “We will see. It’s a lot easier to be here and have fun when you don’t have to be here. But I enjoy it, it’s a kick.”

Story by: Cassidy Harmon
Photo Courtesy of Cassidy Harmon and Daniel Swanson