M.S. in Organizational Leadership Alumnus Promoted to Chief of Police

CSU Global alumnus Eric Schmitt knew from a young age that he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. 

At 15, Schmitt became a cadet through Exploring – a Boy Scout-supported program that allowed him to experience hands-on, interactive law enforcement scenarios facilitated by community leaders. However, in Colorado, where Schmitt lived, police officers must be 21 or older. 

Schmitt pursued higher education in the interim and received his B.S. in Sociology from the University of Colorado. On the weekends, he returned home to ride alongside his town’s police officers to gain in-the-field experience. As soon as he turned 21, Schmitt accepted a job with the Greenwood City Police Department.  

In 2013, Schmitt enrolled at CSU Global to pursue a master’s degree in organizational leadership. Newly promoted to sergeant, Schmitt was drawn to CSU Global’s tuition guarantee and asynchronous schedule. However, his biggest takeaway was the global perspective he gained from instructors and peers. “Having a global component, especially when studying organizational leadership, was awesome. It was so much better than studying at a brick-and-mortar institution,” he shared. 

Schmitt’s police chief encouraged him to specialize in Human Resource Performance due to the changing law enforcement landscape – a move that benefits his department to this day. “The courses at CSU Global helped me understand that human resources aren’t just the enforcement arm of an organization; that the best commodity is your people,” he said. “I learned how to tie our organization mission to our goals, allowing me to bring out the best – both intrinsically and extrinsically – in those around me.” 

Upon receiving his diploma from CSU Global, Schmitt was promoted to Commander-in-Charge of Special Operations, overseeing SWAT, canine and traffic units, and school resource officers. Three years later, when the Assistant Chief position opened up in Branson, MO, Schmitt applied – and was accepted. With his wife and four boys in tow, Schmitt relocated from Colorado to Missouri. 

In December 2022, five years after moving to Branson and having just completed FBI school in Quantico, Virginia, Schmitt was elevated to Chief of Police. At his swearing-in ceremony, Branson Mayor Larry Milton shared, "Eric is respected by our policy department, by our city hall, by this Board of Aldermen, and more importantly, by the community." State Rep. Brian Seitz echoed the remarks: "Chief Schmitt is a qualified, conscientious, trustworthy leader and team player. This is yet another win for the citizens of Branson."

Throughout the accolades, promotions, and recognition, Schmitt remains steadfast in his mission from day one: to make a difference in the communities he serves. "I call it Schmitt's golden rule: treat everyone you come into contact with the way you would want a loving member of your family to be treated." By keeping people at the center of operations, Schmitt continues to make positive contributions to his department and city.

For more information on pursuing Organizational Leadership at CSU Global, check out our bachelor’s and master’s programs.