From ride alongs with the Vermont State Police to visits from special guests, some of them four-legged, the Plattsburgh State Criminal Justice Club allows members to spend time with like-minded peers, make connections and gain skills that will benefit them when they enter the field.
Senior Dominick Amari has been a member since his sophomore year and is now the club’s president. His interest in criminal justice was first sparked when he took an introductory class in high school. This class and watching his own family members succeed in the field have made him consider becoming a police officer.
“My grandpa has actually been NYPD for 20 years now, so that kinda interests me,” Amari said.
The Criminal Justice Club meetings aid members in navigating the different career prospects under the criminal justice umbrella.
“There’s more to criminal justice than being a police officer,” faculty advisor and University Police Officer Darren Barcomb said. “There’s corrections, there’s social work, some of our members want to be layers. There’s a lot of different avenues.”
Not only are students given the opportunity to hear about what these avenues are, they are able to experience what they may entail. Last semester, members had the opportunity to participate in a training session in collaboration with the Alliance for Positive Health, a community-based organization focused on raising awareness, performing tests, and reducing stigma around mainly HIV/AIDS and chronic illnesses, that allowed members to become certified to administer Narcan, a nasal spray drug that blocks the effects of an opoid overdose.
“If they come across anyone overdosing on opioids, like heroin or pills, they can actually give the nasal spray that’s life saving.” Barcomb said.
This semester, members will be able to earn their eight-hour security guard license, making them eligible to get a security job anywhere in the state of New York when they graduate.
The club has an active Facebook page for current members and alumni, where current or graduating students can connect with those already out in the field for inspiration and aide them in the job search process.
“It’s a little community,” Amari said. “Whenever there’s an opening or a test date people will post it.”
Whether someone is studying criminal justice, curious about the field or just want to drop in when a canine unit is in attendance, the Criminal Justice Club is welcome to anyone interested in joining. They meet every Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m. in meeting room 6 in the Angell College Center.