Bluefield College recently hosted its Second Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, a weeklong celebration designed to acknowledge the ways in which local law enforcement support the school and its criminal justice students.
Activities for the week included guest lectures by various law enforcement professionals in BC criminal justice classes; a presentation by Virginia State Trooper Beverly Baker, who served on the front lines during the August 2017 Charlottesville riots; and a flagpole ceremony honoring local law enforcement and featuring State Trooper Gavin Scott, a bagpiper with the Virginia State Police Honor Guard, who not only performed, but also spoke about the history and present use of the bagpipe in law enforcement.
“Our main motivation in doing this is to show how much we appreciate law enforcement,” said Dr. Kim Farmer, professor and chair of the BC Criminal Justice Department, “particularly our former students who have gone into policing and corrections and other criminal justice professions, to show them how much we value their contributions back to the school.”
Part of that recognition also came in the form of a dinner acknowledging law enforcement professionals and featuring a keynote address from Jeremy Carper, a 2003 BC graduate and detective with the Charlottesville Police Department who discussed his involvement as lead detective in the case for Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old British American student at the University of Virginia who was murdered. Carper also spoke about the value of his BC criminal justice education.
“Continue doing what you’re doing,” Carper urged the current criminal justice students. “Just being here at Bluefield College is a great start. It was a great start for me. They have the external programs, such as attending a police academy for a semester, and that just increases your qualifications to departments, because you’re already a pre-certified officer. I think that really set me above other people when I was applying for jobs. Take advantage of all the opportunities that Bluefield has to offer and stay in contact, because even after you graduate the school can have an impact on your life and your profession.”
Not only did the Law Enforcement Appreciation Week give Bluefield College criminal justice students the chance to learn more about their potential profession and what they might deal with when they graduate from Bluefield, but it also gave them the opportunity to connect and network with BC alumni already in the field. In addition, the visiting law officers shared internship opportunities with the students.
“I’ve had the privilege to come to this event in the past, and (criminal justice professor) Dr. (Kelly) Walls invited me, and I said I couldn’t miss this opportunity,” said senior CRJ major Jacob Key. “It’s a great chance to network and meet other people who graduated from Bluefield College that have made a name in the criminal justice department.”
Brian Clemons, another senior criminal justice major, agreed with Key. To Clemons, the week was an opportunity to get in touch with people already in the field. However, more than just criminal justice majors attended the activities as students from all majors came to the presentations. In fact, according to Dr. Farmer, oftentimes students who take Intro to Criminal Justice or go to these events realize they enjoy the profession and decide to change majors.
“It’s been a really great turnout,” said Clemons. “It is nice to see a lot of graduates from the criminal justice program. We get to see where they’ve been and where they’re going in life and other professionals from the community being able to share this moment with us.”
LAW ENFORCEMENT APPRECIATION WEEK 2017
Bluefield College Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, recognizing the ways local law enforcement supports BC and its criminal justice students.