The late Larry H. Miller had a vision for the Criminal Justice Education program at the Salt Lake Community College campus which bears his name. At the Public Safety Education and Training Center, located at the SLCC Miller Campus, hands-on public safety training, such as Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification, is paired with a traditional academic education.
“That’s the partnership of this building. Larry H. Miller, when he opened up this building, his intention was to merge the criminal justice profession with academics,” said Julia Ellis, Criminal Justice program advisor. “We have multiple partners. We have highway patrol, corrections, POST, hazmat, online crime unit, and the fire marshals.”
These partnerships have benefits for both SLCC students who seek an associates degree in criminal justice, and those who simply want the certification required for various public safety careers.
“It’s just kind of helped the individuals in our program to see what it would take for them to get into the training, and get into the profession. Then vice versa, those individuals who are already training for the profession, it kind of highlights the academic support that they need for their career as well for advancement,” said Ellis.
Criminal Justice Education students can focus their study in a number of directions. Courses range in topics from forensic science to corrections to the study of terrorism, and even the study of Satanism and occult crimes. The program offers an AAS degree designed for directly entering the workforce, or an AS degree that transfers to a wide array of universities.
“Our mainstream is usually individuals who are looking to attend here, and then finish a degree in forensic science through UVU or Weber State, or doing the law enforcement degree and trying to get a job with local law enforcement agencies,” said Ellis.
Most students go on to work for the Highway Patrol, police departments, or various federal agencies, but many have other careers in mind.
One of these students is Bill Wells. Wells is currently a substitute teacher, and he would like to become a school resource officer, where he would work with high school and middle school students. Another student, Shelby Goff, loves animals, but she wants to work with them in a non-veterinary capacity. She would like to be a dog handler, or work with Animal Control. Adam Bradshaw is pursuing both a culinary arts and criminal justice degree at SLCC. This might seem like an unusual combination, but he has a unique plan for stringing them together into a career.
“The way I figure things, if I work with a federal agency or as a cop for 20 years, retire, open up my own restaurant, I’ve got an instant customer base,” he said.
The Criminal Justice Education program boasts one of the highest enrollment rates of any area of study offered by SLCC. Students who need a Social Science credit and are curious about a career in criminal justice have a way to test the waters.
“Criminal Justice 1010 is a social science open for anyone that’s looking for that credit within their general education,” said Ellis.