Law enforcement officers, corrections officers, emergency responders and victim assistance programs were on campus Wednesday, Sept. 20 from 9 a.m. to noon for Public Safety Day. The event allowed students and the public to learn about professions in criminal justice and emergency medical services.
Ken Sissom, Director of the Police Academy, said Public Safety Day is an opportunity for students to learn about the different roles of criminal justice professions and a way for the college to educate the public on safety awareness.
“We offer an Administration of Justice, which is a criminal justice degree,” Sissom said. “This event was put on for [criminal justice] students to see the agencies they might apply to. Sometimes, we actually get students who are not interested in [criminal justice] and they end up coming to our classes.”
Formerly known as Criminal Justice Day, Public Safety Day saw its name change with the participation of emergency medical services in the event. Shawn Biggs, Associate Professor of Emergency Medical Science (EMS), said this year is the first time the EMS department has participated in the event.
“We’re wanting to educate the public and students of career opportunities in the public sector,” Biggs said. “I’m an associate professor with the EMS department and I’m trying to educate students of all the educational opportunities in the EMS area.”
Avah Robinett, EMS student, joined Biggs to help educate students about the various opportunities EMS students have. Robinett said a student’s perspective and experience can be beneficial to those who consider joining the EMS program.
“If students have questions pertaining to what the student side is, I can answer them,” Robinett said. “I can tell them about my experiences in the program.”
Several student organizations and representatives from surrounding universities were also in attendance. Lambda Alpha Epsilon (LAE), the fraternal name for the American Criminal Justice Association, is student organization that improves criminal justice learning through educational activities.
“We’re the criminal justice organization, we go on tours and we’ve had guest speakers,” said Haley Wall, student. “We allow for a more hands-on experience rather than classroom experience and we are very inclusive to non-criminal justice majors. We really try to stay involved in the community.”
Victim assistance programs such as drug and alcohol and sexual assault resource teams were present at the event as well. Demarco Vaughn of first call*, an alcohol/drug prevention agency, said Public Safety Day is important for those who need to know what resources are available especially when dealing with addiction recovery and suicide prevention.
“I think that people need to be aware of what’s out there,” Vaughn said. “They need to know what to do, where to go and who to go to. I came out here to get the community involved and educate them on what resources we have available.”
*first call is the name of the organization, uncapitalized