April 20, 2024

A police officer, FBI agent and probation officer are a few of the many career opportunities that students have after studying through California Baptist University’s criminal justice program. Many do not realize the wide array of courses available to students to fix curiosity and spark interest.

Dr. Ana Gamez, assistant professor of psychology and practicum director of forensic psychology, describes a number of classes that are beneficial to those striving to work in a number of criminal justice fields.

“We have so many internships for students to help them connect them into the workforce,” Gamez said.

“From the Federal Bureau of Investigation, secret service and district attorney to a juvenile detention facility and mediation internships, we have a place where our students are able to contribute.”

With a program like criminal justice, students will get a personal, hands-on experience not only in internships, but also in the classroom.

“The criminal justice program is amazing. The professors have experience on the field and give great examples of real life criminal justice strategies,” said Lauren Vazquez, junior criminal justice major.

Going into criminal justice or a forensic psychology concentration takes work and application.

In these fields, there is the possibility of danger as well as the opportunity to help someone. One class in particular, which caters to this specific training is firearms.

CJS120, Firearms, is taught by John Higley, associate professor of criminal justice, and gives students the chance to learn the ins and outs of guns — literally.

Students are first taught the most important part of firearms — safety.

Among the course curriculum is lessons on how to work with different handguns, shotguns and rifles.

After getting familiar with the weapons, students go to a range and practice shooting.

“I wanted to have a class including firearms to get those who are preparing to work in law enforcement or the criminal justice field to be familiar with weapons,” Higley said. “It is much easier to get started with good habits early on (with guns).”

Higley said he hopes to eventually start up a club or a shooting competition team at CBU. The CJS120 class has been offered for a year with only 10 spots open per course so it fills up fast.

In relation to a course about firearms, course CJS472, Terrorism and Homeland Security, is offered in the Department of History and Government that centers on terrorism.

“This particular course offering had a Joint Terrorism Task Force member address our students, in addition to a former assistant U.S. attorney and current district attorney, who successfully prosecuted terrorists, both internationally and domestically”, said Mark Kling, assistant professor of criminal justice.

The course is fitting for those in the fields of criminal justice, public administration and political science. The next course will be offered in spring 2014.

In the future, criminal justice hopes to offer a doctorate degree program.

As these programs continue to grow, the faculty welcomes students of all majors to enroll in an introductory class to get a peek of the possibilities they can have in these academic fields, as well as be a part of some one-of-a-kind classes.

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