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September 21st, 2019

sccc logo 2017ROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


For many years, criminal justice has been a popular degree program at Seward County Community College.

For some of those years, the program also had a club attached to it, and now after an absence of a few years, the Criminal Justice Club is making a return.

Marlene Roberts, president of the club and current student at SCCC, said the group had not existed for about three years, and she and others are now bringing it back in an attempt to make the college’s criminal justice program even stronger.

“It’s good, but we want to make it better,” she said. “We want to see if we can make a difference and bring the college and the police department together for it. We really want to see if we can make a difference with the criminal justice and expanding it and working with the community as well.”

Roberts said the Liberal Police Department is completely on board with the new club, brought back in September 2018, and firearm trainings with the LPD have been scheduled to take place later this month. This is just one of the activities the group has planned.

“The Criminal Justice Club is going to be involved in some competitions, statewide competitions, so we’ll definitely have some training going on and some fundraising, some other fundraisers,” she said.

The Criminal Justice Club is also doing a bigger fundraiser March 30 in Liberal, with a fun run with K9 officers Poker and Danno.

“It will be an obstacle course for dogs and a fun run for people, and we will provide dog food and water and hot dog meal, but they’ll have to pay for the hot dog meal,” fellow Criminal Justice Club member Karina Sandoval said.

 Money raised from the event will go to the Guymon, Okla., Police Department, which both Sandoval and Roberts said is facing some rough times.

“Their police department K-9 unit is needing some K-9 equipment,” Roberts said. “We decided to raise a fundraiser fun to raise some money for them.”

Roberts said club members went through a few other fundraisers before deciding on the fun run and helping Guymon’s law enforcement community.

“We decided to go on that one because they really need it,” she said. “They still need the help. It looks great for one police department to assist another one if the possibilities are available, so we’re trying to do everything possible.”

The run itself is taking place during March’s Criminal Justice Month observance, which Roberts said is meant as a show of support of both the criminal justice and law enforcement fields.

“That’s another reason why we decided to do the fundraiser, not only for the Guymon Police Department, but in the month of March,” she said. “It means a lot to law enforcement.”

As far as the criminal justice program at SCCC, Roberts said many classes have opened up, and different classes are added with each semester.

“Every semester, we have more. Some of the professors, one of them is a judge, and the other one’s a police officer,” she said. “It’s kind of really good that kind of involvement and that kind of professor for the criminal justice program. It makes it a little bit more interesting to have more people involved in it.”

Roberts said the club gives students hands-on experience with criminal justice.

“We get the education at the college, and we take the classes, but really, being part of the club is what allows you to see what law enforcement deals with every day,” she said.

Roberts said LPD offers students a ride-along with a cop program, something else for students to see first hand what law enforcement is like.

“You can go fill out an application, which is a waiver, at the police department,” she said. “You can ride along with a police officer, and you can actually experience what it’s like. It’s hands-on criminal justice.”

Prior to the absence of the Criminal Justice Club, the SCCC program had many good competitions and activities, and Roberts said new club members want to bring those back and get the community involved with the club.

“We’re going to start with that fundraiser for now, see how it goes,” she said.

Roberts said the changing lineup of classes available at SCCC allows students to take a variety of courses, and the everchanging world of technology adds to the changing dynamics of the criminal justice program.

“We learn a lot about report writing,” she said. “We learn about criminal investigations. We get some hands on like how to lift fingerprints. Definitely technology takes a big place in it.”

The fun run will take place from noon to 5 p.m. March 30 in the field next to the Mid-America Air Museum.

“They register there,” Roberts said. “We’re going to be set up in the field, and we’re going to have a little booth set up where they can register and sign a waiver.”

Registration for adults is $7. Dogs are $5, and children are $3. Concession prices are $1 for hot dogs and 50 cents for soda and chips. Water will be provided free to runners at $1 for non-runners. For more information, call Roberts at 620-309-7908 or Sandoval at 620-309-8645.

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