By C. Aileen Blaine
During the last few months, tensions between the public and law enforcement agencies have been heightened. However, the criminal justice department is confident its cadets will be prepared to pursue successful careers in law enforcement.
Non-traditional criminal justice senior Anthony Garret said obtaining his degree is a personal goal of his. Currently a retired correctional officer from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, he’s trained in law enforcement tactics such as unarmed self-defense, first aid, firearms.
“In corrections, I dealt with a lot of different personalities, but one thing about it, I was firm, fair and consistent in what I did,” Garrett said. “I’m not one to use excessive force nor was I going to assume you were guilty. Remaining peaceful makes all the situations better.”
He said aspects of his adolescence shaped how he approaches situations now.
“As a Black man, we approach situations a lot different than what is shown today in the media,” Garrett said. “I grew up in the inner city, so I know how to approach someone who looks like me and diffuse a situation.”
When it comes to using the current events regarding law enforcement agencies as a teaching opportunity, Garrett said he thinks instructors should take advantage of the current situation. He said he doesn’t mind “ruffling feathers” when it comes to online discussion boards for class.
Also, Garrett said he’s in the field to make a difference.
“[I’m in the field] to make sure that everyone is getting their due process as granted by the United States Constitution,” he said.
Criminal justice senior Jonathan Nolan said the future in law enforcement is uncertain.
“[Law enforcement] is a scary thing to get into, there are a lot of changes,” he said. “There’s a big disconnect between people; that needs changed.”
Youngstown State University Police Academy commander Edward J. Villone said he feels sure his cadets are in the police academy for the right reasons.
“It’s a lot of work. In order to do all that, you have to be pretty dedicated, and you have to want to help people and have to have that compassionate type personality,” Villone said. “You wouldn’t do all this if you didn’t have that. You don’t go into this kind of field for the wrong reasons.”
In addition to the standard tactical and physical training, cadets receive training in various disciplines such as race relations and mental health issues.
“We have proper protocols to monitor demonstrations, to actively engage in a situation where we would need to maybe protect other citizens or move a crowd, place someone under arrest,” Villone said.
He said anyone with questions about the methods and types of training the cadets undergo should ask.
“One of the main things we talk about is how no matter who you’re dealing with or how you’re feeling that day, these people have feelings, have concerns just like we do,” Villone said. “If you can strike some kind of middle ground and talk to them … then you can kind of understand a little bit more about the person.”