NORFOLK — There was a heavy police presence on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk recently.
However, there was no incident; it was a day to showcase careers in federal law enforcement to high school and college students.
This was the 14th year that Northeast and the Nebraska Community College Criminal Justice Educator’s Association, have sponsored the Career Opportunities and Professions Seminar (COPS).
Approximately 300 students had the opportunity to interact and learn more about several occupations from federal criminal justice professionals. Students were divided into small groups and then rotated through the presentations and demonstrations.
Northeast Community College Criminal Justice Instructor Colleen Barnes said the day is designed to educate students on criminal justice professions and explore opportunities that each field provides.
“The accessibility of federal agencies appeared limited for many of our students, so in order to address this issue we developed our seminar,” she said. “Rotating break-out sessions allow each group of students to hear information from each department and ask questions such as, ‘How do I even enter into the ATF field?’ ”
Barnes said many students said that the day was very informative and are now thinking of positions they had not seen themselves in previously.
This year’s COPS event included representatives from Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Federal Prisons, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services.
Past seminars have featured members of SWAT teams from the Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab, Madison County Sheriff Department’s K-9 Unit, Norfolk Police Division K-9 Unit, Grand Island Police Department, Nebraska State Prisons, Nebraska Parole Office, Nebraska Probation Office, and a polygraph expert and arson investigator.
Students from Allen Consolidated, Battle Creek, Bloomfield, Central Valley, Elgin Public, Fullerton, Madison, Neligh-Oakdale, Norfolk Catholic, Norfolk Public, Omaha Nation — Macy, Osmond, Pierce, Ponca, Randolph, South Sioux City, Stanton, Wahoo, Wayne, Winside and home schools joined students from Central, Metropolitan, Northeast, and Southeast community colleges in attending this year’s seminar.
The associate of arts degree in criminal justice at Northeast Community College gives students knowledge to apply their education directly on the job or to continue study toward a four-year degree. The program offers two interdisciplinary concentrations, corrections and law enforcement.