News - 03/7/2013

MiraCosta College Instructor Receives Award from Carlsbad Police Department

Al Nyman

Al Nyman has earned a number of titles during his 62 years, including MiraCosta College professor, Grossmont College police chief, U.S. Marine, and San Diego County sheriff’s lieutenant.

Now Nyman has a new title: Volunteer of the Year for the Carlsbad Police Department.

The criminal justice instructor who has been teaching at the Oceanside Campus for 37 years was honored at a February event in Carlsbad for his work on the Police Department’s Juvenile Justice Panel.

“It means a great deal to me because being a volunteer gives you a chance to give back to the community,” Nyman said.

The Juvenile Justice Panel targets youth who have committed a relatively minor first offense, such as shoplifting or drug use. It is an intervention and diversion program that aims to change a juvenile’s outlook and behavior before it can lead to more serious crimes. Participants are assigned to community service. If the offender completes the program, no criminal conviction is noted on his or her record.

The Juvenile Justice Panel comprises community members, a peer representative and the program coordinator. Nyman was a founding member of the Carlsbad Police Department’s Juvenile Justice Program, and has volunteered with the Panel since 1986.

“During his 27 years of service, he has been a true friend of the Carlsbad Police
Department, promoting our agency and supporting our officers whenever and wherever possible,” states a nominating form that was sent to police Chief Gary Morrison. The nomination form credits Nyman for his “countless hours to our Juvenile Justice Program, going above and beyond, to help us create and maintain a successful `Second Chance’ program for at-risk youth.”

Professor Patrick Connolly, who heads the Administration of Justice Program at MiraCosta College, said no one is more deserving than Nyman. 

“He cares,” Connolly said. “He cares about his students. He cares about the community. And he cares about the kids who come before those panels. He knows that this may be their last chance to get their life turned around.”

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Nyman spent several years in the Marine Corps before joining the Grossmont College Police Department, working his way up to chief at that East County campus. He spent the next three decades with the U.S. Marshals Office and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department before retiring several years ago as a watch commander at the Vista jail. While serving as a law enforcement officer, Nyman simultaneously worked as a professor at MiraCosta College and was instrumental in helping to build the MiraCosta College Criminal Justice Program, Connolly said.

Nyman said volunteering for the Carlsbad Police Department is the right thing to do.

“When you have a long career, you have an expertise in a certain area. You should put that expertise to good use for a good cause.”

States the Volunteer of the Year nomination form: “Al Nyman is a man with a big heart and a goal to help others, whenever and wherever he can. We are blessed that he has made room in his heart, and time in his life, for Carlsbad’s Juvenile Justice Program, and the youth of our community.”

The Carlsbad Police Department is just one of the agencies for which Nyman volunteers. He has been helping out at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside since 2006.

“I want to be remembered as someone who helped others,” Nyman said. “Somebody who helped make the community better, who helped change someone’s life.”

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