Newman University’s criminal justice department, in collaboration with District Attorney Marc Bennett, put on a forum Monday that gave students the opportunity to hear from various law enforcement departments about potential careers in the industry.
The event, which went from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Sedgwick County Extension Center, included presentations from Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, Chief Public Defender Mark Rudy, Maize Chief of Police Matt Jensby, Wichita Police Department Deputy Chief Jose Salcido and Cheney Chief of Police Ken Winter.
Various other law enforcement agencies were also represented, including corrections and parole workers.
Nearly 40 students gathered from Newman University, Friends University, Butler County Community College and Cowley County Community College to network and listen to the speakers.
Kristi Edwards, assistant professor of criminal justice, organized the forum with the help of Bennett and her Sociology of Law class.
Bennett said he contacted Edwards, who used to work in the DA’s office as well, about six months ago to try and set up an event for area students informing them of the career options in the area.
“We’re always looking for new folks and to have a chance to interact one on one with people and talk to them and get some feedback later helps us to know what it is that college kids are looking for now, in terms of presentation,” Bennett said.
Becca Kopper, a junior at Newman, said the event helped in her search for a career after graduation.
“This was a good opportunity to see how different perspective meld and their opinions on it after having real life experience in these fields,” she said.
Kopper, a criminal justice and psychology double major, said she’s interested in doing psychological work within law enforcement.
“I’m trying to get some questions answered to see if it really is what I want to do,” she said. “I feel like more information always helps. So events like these are beneficial.”
Though the forum focused on helping students, Bennett said the law enforcement departments also got a lot out of the evening.
“I know everybody I spoke to was pleased by the turnout and by the interaction. People didn’t just sit there like a bump on a log and then walk out the door. They stuck around and talked and asked questions,” he said.
Edwards said they plan to have a similar forum again during the 2018 spring semester and will possibly reach out to other area institutions and high schools.
This story first appeared in the April 27th, 2017 issue of The Vantage