Van Wert sophomore students Mackenna Stechschulte and Carley White with Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Billy Watson. (DHI Media/ Jim Langham)
Van Wert sophomore students Mackenna Stechschulte and Carley White with Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Billy Watson. (DHI Media/ Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – One of the most popular classes in this year’s sophomore visitation day at Vantage Career Center was the newly-introduced criminal justice class.

“The criminal justice program introduces students to the many different areas of the criminal justice system,” said the class’s instructor, Zach Miller. “The class focuses on policing in Ohio. Students begin to gain knowledge and skills necessary to achieve a career in the criminal justice system. This includes the courts, law enforcement and corrections.

“As part of the program, students become certified in CPR, OSHA, National Incident Management System as well as ASP Baton and OC/Pepper Spray,” continued Miller.

Miller noted that completion of the two-year program at Vantage Career Center gives students a start into their future path whether law enforcement, forensics, corrections or military. Students will learn an understanding of the Ohio Revised Code, communication skills, employability skills, defensive tactics, policing tactics and physical fitness.

Friday’s event at the criminal justice class included sophomore students interested in the class from Van Wert, Paulding, Putnam and surrounding counties. In addition, there were various officers and law enforcement leaders from around the area.

“This seems like a job I would like to get into,” said Makenna Stechschulte from Fort Jennings. “I’ve been learning a lot today. I think that it’s pretty cool. I am amazed at the different work that they do. I didn’t realize that law enforcement did all of these things behind the scenes.”

Carley White, a sophomore from Van Wert said that she has been interested in FBI work, mainly from television programs that she has watched.

“This is an awesome opportunity for law enforcement to interact with school students,” commented Trooper Bill Wilson from the Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Patrol. “We are all excited to be here. We are glad to inform them that we are not just here to arrest criminals but to also provide a helping service to the community around us.

“We want students to know that we are here to service,” continued Wilson. “We need more people to get involved in service jobs.”

Junior Trinity Temple said that she has been interested in law because her dad is interested in law. But most of her interest has come from within, Temple said. She would like to either be a police officer or enter the military.

“In the end I decided to go with how I feel,” added Temple. “This program is amazing. We learn so much here.”

“Ever since I’ve been a child, I’ve been interested in being a police officer,” said junior Corbin Hartman. “I like the pride and integrity that comes with positions like this. I plan on being a correction officer.”

“I’ve always felt since I was a kid that I would like to get into something like this,” added junior Austin Smith. “I feel that it can make me a better person with more discipline.”