Criminal Justice Expo shines light on career opportunities for criminal justice students

By Adriana Troka
Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, Police departments inhabiting the Wayne County area, as well as national government organizations, visited the University of Michigan – Dearborn for the Criminal Justice Expo in Kochoff Room C.

The expo gave students the opportunity to obtain information on careers with law enforcement. The various types of police forces present were the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (A.T.F), Michigan State Police and Wayne County Police, along with city departments from Novi, Dearborn, Melvindale, Brownstown and Detroit.

According to Jennifer Day, a counterfeit and currency technician of the Secret Service, a potential employee must be physically fit, a U.S. citizen, and have a good credit history. She further explained that students with student loans won’t be denied. Jennifer says, “We understand people have bumps and a lot of debt becomes an integrity issue and may pose as a threat to the President of the United States or his family considering a student may exchange information of the president’s whereabouts in order to pay off the debt.”

Karen Hall, a Victim’s Service Unit employee at the Wayne County prosecutor’s office, mentioned that she loved her job. “Anyone with a degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology or sociology who is interested in helping others will be a perfect match for the department.”

The Victims Service Unit is a department that works closely with victims of rights, victims of violence such as rape, and to show compassion and core support. Hall also added if a student is looking into civil advocate work they must have a master’s degree. The department is offering an internship program to students who are on their last semester. The intern will be working closely with other staff members.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (A.T.F.) is looking for students with a diverse background, creative thinking skills, and an overall uniqueness that they can bring to the table.

Daniel Aphram, an intern of A.T.F. also clarified that a criminal justice degree is not necessary because the bureau is full of many different departments. Daniel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and he added “I love it, it’s fast pace, they teach you everything you need to know, and there are so many departments to choose from.”

For all the students who are interested in working with a police department, the requirements are the same throughout the State. Students must be fit, go through police academy, and pass the MCOLES exam. More information can be found at www.michigan.gov/mcoles, for specific guidelines, requirements and qualifications.

In addition to the MCOLES requirements, Chad Hayse, a police officer with the Melvindale Police Department, adds, “A potential employee needs to have common sense, be able to work long hours, and accept that working in a police department is hard work.”

The Michigan State Police Department says being a police officer requires no prior experience. One qualification is that the student must be 21 by the time that they finish their civil exam, and then they will be placed in the regional academy provided by the State Police. According to Richardson Hamilton, a degree gives a student a promotional benefit.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection mentioned that a potential employee must be 18 years old, have no felonies, have a high school diploma, and be a U.S. citizen. Applicants must successfully complete a background investigation, pass a polygraph examination, a written test, a drug test, and an artificial languages test. More information can be found on www.cbp.gov/careers.

Savannah Tedone, mother of 17-year-old Christian Tedone, says she would like to see her son pursue a career in law enforcement. Christian is pursuing a criminal justice degree at UM-Dearborn, in hopes of having a future career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Donald Shelton, the Director of the Criminal Justice Department at the UM-Dearborn, expressed his enthusiasm considering his new position with the university. “I enjoy teaching my students, they are very impressive.”

Shelton has held a position as Washtenaw County Trial Court judge for 24 years and taught at Eastern Michigan University for 17 years. One of the tips he mentioned was for students who are pursuing a criminal justice degree to get exposed. “The expo is about giving opportunities of meeting potential employers and to present themselves.”

For more information on law enforcement visit www.usajobs.gov, www.atf.gov, www.michigan.gov/msp, and www.cbp.gov/careers.