By Molly Valltos
PRINCE FREDERICK, Md.—The annual Criminal Justice Day Nov. 10 provided an opportunity for College of Southern Maryland students to learn more about crime prevention and possible law enforcement careers.
At the College of Southern Maryland, Prince Frederick Campus, the Calvert County Sheriff's Office set up posters, provided crime prevention information, handed out brochures and showed a PowerPoint presentation that highlighted a day in the life of a deputy.
The PowerPoint ranged from the first days in the Academy to deputies responding to service and crimes in progress. CSM student Lauren Wood said, "Being able to actually see what the officers do every day helps with my decision to become a cop, I really enjoy the work."
Criminal Justice Day offered the sheriff's office a chance to recruit potential candidates for the police academy. Sgt. Keith Hicks, who helped coordinate the event, said, "We like events like this because it gives the sheriff's office an opportunity to interact with citizens in a non-threatening, non-enforcement environment."
The officers were there to answer questions about the work and explain more about the job. "I am here to project an image of the sheriff's office and provide information to interested students," Hicks said.
Deputies were available to discuss K-9 work, detective work, SWAT team work and other divisions of the department with interested students.
Members of the college advisement office were also available during the event to counsel students, if necessary. Gladys Jones, CSM's director of the Department of Administration Services, said, "Several students come to me inquiring about a degree in criminal justice after spending a day talking to the deputies and looking at the information they have provided." The college supplemented this event by having advisors present in case any questions about curriculum arose.
The event is advertised a month in advance at all four college campuses, including Prince Frederick, Leonardtown, La Plata and Waldorf. While anyone is welcome to attend, criminal justice professors encourage their students to take part in the event.
"It is a great opportunity for students considering a career in law enforcement to interact with sheriffs first hand and understand what it really takes to become a police officer," said CSM Professor Nick Valltos.
Molly Valltos is a student at the College of Southern Maryland.