JWCC starts Yates down career path

Screenshot 2023-10-13 at 8.41.46 AM

Quincy Police Chief Adam Yates served in the Marine Corps before beginning college at John Wood Community College.


As long as he can remember, Adam Yates wanted to be a police officer. 

He caught the bug early in life. “It was just something I was just very interested in. Something I wanted to do when I grew up.”

“I played Quinsippi Soccer when I was little, and both of my soccer coaches were Quincy police officers … Harry Kramer and Terry Simons,” Yates said. “I was very close with them.”

“When I got a little bit older, we had a police officer move in across the street, Calvin Roberts, and he was close with my parents. My dad would do ridealongs with him and stuff like that. I always was very impressed by him and how he carried himself.”

After high school, Quincy’s Police Chief tried a four-year college. Yates admits at that point in his life he was not a great student and a bit undisciplined. 

“After about two months, I realized that college was not for me,” Yates explains. “So, I went and enlisted in the Marine Corps and served four years on active duty.”

After his discharge, Yates got his first taste of John Wood.

“It was perfect for me.”

Leveraging the GI Bill and the Illinois Veterans Grant, Yates wanted to take advantage of JWCC’s Law Enforcement Program. He felt at home from the first time he set foot on campus.

“I felt welcome,” Yates says.  “That was my initial experience walking into John Wood. They were just very welcoming, and the instructors were all so nice. The classes were smaller. It was just a perfect fit for me as somebody that had been out of the academic world for four years.”

“I was concerned about going back, and they just made it so simple and so fluid.”

Learning from instructors that have ‘walked the walk’ was also an added bonus.

“Quincy police officer Dennis Bingheim was actually teaching classes at John Wood,” the Police Chief says. “I was taking classes from actual Quincy police officers. That’s really something that I thought was unique that John Wood offered.”

Yates is paying it forward by contributing his time to JWCC.

The need for local officers from diverse backgrounds has led to a deepened collaboration between JWCC and local law enforcement agencies such as the Quincy Police Department (QPD). 

“We have such an opportunity to grow and train our own officers and retain students who come to the Quincy area from nearby states,” Yates says. “Talking with students in the classroom is one thing, but we advise those with an interest in the field to take part in a ridealong or be part of a job shadow or internship to witness some of the real-life scenarios that officers experience daily.”

On that initial visit to the old campus at 48th and Maine, Yates knew he had found a home.

“They cared when I walked through the door. They cared that I was there. They wanted me to be there, and they wanted me to succeed. And that really was what impressed me the most about John Ward. That’s why I still have such a warm spot in my heart for John Wood College because they always made me feel welcome.”

Are you a Trail Blazer graduate? Tell your story at www.jwccfoundation.org/50years! Join the Blazer network and help John Wood Community College celebrate 50 years of education. 

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