Criminal justice students learn about job prospects


Miguel Gutierrez/ISLAND WAVES – Various organizations attended booths at the Criminal Justice Expo, including the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

On Nov. 5, TAMU-CC hosted a Criminal Justice exposition to help students who are looking for a job and who might be considering a career in law enforcement.

There were several local, state and federal agencies who sent representatives to answer any questions students might have.

Starting at 10:00 a.m., there was a Q&A session with panelists representing several different areas of the field. Among the panelists was Sr. Corporal Dane White with the Dallas Police Department.

“For us at the Dallas Police Department, we want people who are trainable,” said White. “You don’t necessarily have to have a degree in criminal justice to be a Dallas police officer.”

White said that the Dallas Police Department is looking for employees with specialties in a variety of degrees.

“We are one of the larger police agencies in the state, the second largest,” said White. “So we have over 150 different units other than patrol that you can get involved in. I like to tell people that it doesn’t matter what your major is.We have a job for you, and you can find your niche somewhere.”

White added that the Dallas Police Department will even pay to train you.

“For us, we are going to be able to train you,” said White.” We have a nine-month training academy. It’s Monday through Friday, eight to five. In our academy, you not only learn how to do the job, as far as protecting yourself, but actually you get to see how to get involved in the community and actually get to help.”

Heberto Villarreal, a criminal just major, attended the event hoping to get some helpful insight. “I’m trying to gain any information that they have to help me when I am applying after I complete my masters,” said Villarreal.

When asked if he thought the Exposition was a helpful experience, Villarreal said, “Yes, when they (the audience) asked them (the panelists) how we can stand out, I got some great tips that I can work on that will hopefully make a difference on my application.”

“I want to serve my government because they gave me an opportunity to come and study,” said Villarreal, “and I want to just give back to them, some way or another. Protecting our borders or against attacks, I just want to give back.”

Sargent Nathan Brandley, head of media and safety communications in his department for the Texas Highway Patrol, was among the recruiters who attended the expo.

“DPS is here to support the school,” said Brandley, “and to bring information to anybody who is interested in law enforcement, possibly with the Texas Highway Patrol. We’re here to share information on the process of applying and what you go through in the eight or nine months of that process.”

Brandley suggested that anyone who is interested in law enforcement consider a career with the Texas Highway Patrol.

“DPS is the pinnacle of law enforcement in the state, as far as state agencies go,” said Brandley. “Across the board for the state police, some of the benefits of the job are that you are state certified in Texas, meaning you can go anywhere in Texas without having to go back to another academy. To have that statewide jurisdiction is really nice, especially if you live in a different part of the state and are interested in law enforcement, this is something you could look at to possibly get back to that area.”