Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Local News

January 18, 2013

Cops in the making

Students investigate aspects of criminal justice careers

Sheldon Corcoran, 17, placed his left hand on a Bible and raised his right hand, as directed by the teenage bailiff, who occasionally stumbled over pronouncing “perjury.”

Corcoran was preparing for the part of Officer Ward in a mock courtroom his instructor, D. Bruce Jordan, organized for the criminal justice class at Century Career Center.

Three classes of just over 20 students each started this fall in the career center’s newest career pathway. Jordan, a 33-year veteran of the Indiana Department of Corrections, developed the criminal justice program at Kokomo’s career center before being tapped to teach the Century classes.

“We had a lot of student interest starting out,” Jordan said. His students come mostly from Logansport, but also hail from Pioneer, Lewis Cass and Caston high schools.

Speaking to a group of prospective career center students, Jordan described what the year-long survey course covers: state and federal court systems; corrections, including the jail and prison systems; parole and probation; and homeland security and terrorism.

The 1 1/2-hour class also translates to six college credit hours through Vincennes University. It’s to lead into another class in the sequence starting next year, when the second class will focus on police science and will qualify for three to six additional dual college credits through Vincennes.

About 40 students have already expressed interest in continuing to the second class, according to James Little, the career center director.

Studying homeland security is relatively new to the criminal justice curriculum, Jordan said, but people with a criminal justice background have found extensive career opportunities in the federal department.

“The law enforcement sections of that — the TSA, the border patrol, ICE — those are very, very well paid, federal jobs,” he explained.

But even on the local level, jobs exist for students with just a high school diploma or limited post-secondary education. High school graduates may start out as police officers or corrections officers, said Jordan.

“To progress up the ladder in those types of law enforcement agencies requires some type of post-secondary education, and most departments, unless they’re tiny, help their officers financially,” he added.

Some of the students in Jordan’s class have known for some time that they wanted to be police officers.

Connor Rominger, an 18-year-old senior at Logansport High School, said he had been inspired by his aunt and uncle, both police officers.

“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” Rominger said. “I just figured I’d get a head start.”

He took the part of the defense attorney in the class’s mock trial, in which the defendant, a part taken by 18-year-old Zach Arnett, is being charged today with the murder of a young woman.

Arnett said being the defendant “stinks,” since “everyone’s against me.”

“You pretty much have to remember the whole night that something happened,” he said. For the purposes of the mock trial, that means memorizing the facts laid out on his character sheet well enough to brave a close cross-examination on the witness stand.

But the class — where students have learned to take people’s fingerprints as well as lift fingerprints from a crime scene, and practiced using mechanical restraints, like handcuffs — has also taught Arnett that there’s more to law enforcement than arresting people. For instance, he said, there are nine specific steps to carrying out a crime scene investigation.

And it’s helped him confirm his plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field, starting out at Ivy Tech before heading to Bethel College in Illinois.

Like Arnett, most of the criminal justice students plan to become police officers, though a few want to be attorneys, said Jordan.

Rominger may want to be a cop, but he said being defense attorney for the mock trial was his first choice.

“There was some extra credit with it, and I just like how this whole process works,” he said — digging through testimony and evidence and finding what would help the defendant.

But he’s been surprised by the vast number of crimes people could be charged with.

“The entire legal system is just incredible,” said Rominger.

As the students rehearsed Thursday for the mock trial — substituting “blah-blah-blah” for their real questions and answers, so as not to give away their lines of argument before the “real” mock trial to take place today — they mixed in plenty of humor with the strict by-the-book phraseology and courtroom etiquette.

“We the jury find the defendant innocent of the murder of what’s-her-face,” said one student to close the rehearsal.

Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Superintendent of Ind Ed 05 [Duplicate] State Superintendent Glenda Ritz visits Peru, discusses new standards PERU -- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said Tuesday she is comfortable with the quick pace at which new academic standards are moving from concept to classroom. The Indiana Department of Education released a final draft of new

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

  • NWS-PT041614 Flora Doc1.jpg Flora physician remains after health group's departure FLORA -- The safe at a downtown bank building, once used for protecting cash and valuables, is now stocked with medical supplies. The former bank office on East Main Street became Flora Family Medicine last month after it was made possible for one lo

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-PT041614 Rob Visher.jpg Nashville musician will play to raise funds for Emmaus A Pioneer Jr.-Sr. High School student's senior project will come to fruition this Saturday with an interactive live music show to benefit a local charity. When Morgan Barger, a senior at Pioneer Jr.-Sr. High School, set out to plan her senior project

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Police blotter: April 15, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 15, 2014

  • Fry sentenced to 55 years, $10K fine Loren Fry, 78, was sentenced today to 55 years in prison and a $10,000 fine after being convicted of murder last month in the 2011 deadly shooting of Dave Schroder, a 76-year-old Logansport man. Three members of Schroder's extended family took the st

    April 15, 2014

  • Lotus Scarf NOT TONED Logan native's scarves on QVC Bobbi Benish loves wearing scarves in stylish knots. Her problem? The knots kept falling out. That's what the Logansport native set out to solve with a modified scarf she developed, called the Easy-Style Lotus Scarf. It's also the latest addition to

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blood drive to honor Kathy Dingo Kathy Dingo felt strongly about giving back to the Logansport community. And now, the community has a chance to do the same in her honor. A blood drive will be held in Dingo's memory from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 23. The date of the blood drives

    April 15, 2014

  • NWS-PT041514 farmers market 1.jpg Farmers market starting in Flora FLORA -- Carroll County is getting its own farmers market this summer. A pair of volunteers are launching a once-a-month market this summer for produce and artisan vendors that has already generated significant interest among local residents. "We do

    April 15, 2014 4 Photos

  • NWS-PT041514 Pets3.jpg Keeping tabs on the cat population For every one person born, 10 kittens are born. And if you ask Dr. Tess Peavy, a veterinarian who visited Logansport Monday with the Neuter Scooter, that math doesn't work. But with the work Peavy and her assistants did Monday, the math is looking be

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Chittick farm named Hoosier Homestead FLORA -- Land is in John Chittick's blood. Since his great-grandfather Archibald Chittick moved to Carroll County, one or another of John's ancestors has owned farmland near Cutler. John Chittick looked after the family land for decades before retiri

    April 15, 2014