On May 14, students at App State with the hopes to become police officers started basic law enforcement training. On Aug. 25, they became sworn-in officers for the campus police department.
These students now work security at the Appalachian Panhellenic Hall, and the new health sciences building, Bryce Helms, one of the student officers and senior criminal justice major, said.
“I originally came in a nursing major, but things changed for me my freshman year,” Helms said. “I got a speeding ticket and when I went through the criminal justice system, I was just fascinated by it and how it worked, and so I decided criminal justice was what I wanted to do instead.”
At first, Helms wasn’t sure what she was going to do with her new major, but as the years went on, and she learned about the opportunity to become a police officer, she couldn’t turn it down.
“It was just something that I had to do. I couldn’t turn it down,” Helms said.
Joshua Warren, a senior criminal justice major, and one of Helms’ classmates said that he has always wanted a career in law enforcement.
“I always wanted to have a career in criminal justice,” Warren said. “I’d like to work in behavioral analysis, but I’m still a little on the fence about precisely what I want to do.”
Over the summer, Helms and Warren both participated in basic law enforcement training. The mission of the program was to develop new leaders of law enforcement, Warren said.
“My favorite technique to learn was law enforcement driving,” Warren said. “It was a lot of fun. My least favorite to learn about was civil process; how to serve papers.”
Helms said that students would have class for the program six days of the week, and physical training at 6 a.m. every day.
“It was a lot of late nights, early mornings, and it was really exhausting,” Helms said. “You had to be able to fight through it until the end because it was a crazy schedule. It was a huge commitment. No vacations. You had to be strong-willed, not just physically, but mentally as well.”
Warren looks forward to his future as a police officer and to the challenges it will bring.
“It’s not an easy career,” Warren said. “But, it’s a necessary one. You have to want it. It’s not something you can do part way, you have to jump in with both feet and be ready to run.”
Story by Anna Muckenfuss
Photos courtesy of Marie Freeman
Featured photo caption: App State’s newest members of the campus police department pose together as a class. The officers were sworn in on the 25th of August.