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Criminal justice students take part in law enforcement seminar

March 28, 2014 : By Joshua Tiprigan/Liberty University News Service

A criminal justice seminar takes place in Liberty University's Williams Stadium.

Liberty University’s Criminal Justice Department — part of the Helms School of Government — hosted a seminar at Williams Stadium on Thursday, March 27 for 100 criminal justice students and close to 200 local, state, and federal criminal justice professionals.

The event featured law enforcement expert Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who shared his practical insight into the situations agencies face every day.

David Grossman speaks at a criminal justice seminar at Liberty University.
Law enforcement expert Lt. Col. Dave Grossman shared practical insight during a seminar hosted by the Liberty University Helms School of Government's Criminal Justice Department in Williams Stadium.

Grossman is a highly respected veteran of the United States Army, a former professor of psychology at West Point, and an expert in military and police tactics. He focused the seminar on the importance of maintaining a “bullet-proof mindset” that enables officers to retain their tactical prowess while running toward threatening situations.

He addressed the risks in a world where violence is glorified in video games and other forms of media that are easily accessible to children, and warned that staying up late to view violent material is a recipe for disaster that can lead to devastating outcomes in the lives of American youth.

"When we have media intoxication and sleep deprivation, we get a toxic cocktail that, for many kids, turns into suicide," Grossman said.

Grossman also discussed the importance of understanding the new generation of crime and how to handle and prevent threats to the schools and towns the officers have sworn to protect. He urged officers and students to remain active in their daily lifestyles so they are always prepared for the worst.

Michele Gay, founder of the nonprofit foundation Safe and Sound and the mother of a Sandy Hook victim, attended the seminar to learn how schools can improve safety conditions before tragedies occur.

“It's our responsibility to make sure (school) is safe,” she said. “We want to have the parents, the students, the administrators, and staff all involved in our (safety) plan. For us it is very much a collaborative effort.”

While the seminar was a great opportunity for students to learn from a renowned leader in law enforcement education, they also had the opportunity to network with staff from local and state law enforcement agencies.

Michael Milnor, a professor of criminal justice with 30 years of experience in law enforcement, said that the department puts students in the same room with professionals to allow them to gather as much real-world experience as possible.

“We are trying to infuse local, state, and federal ranking officers into the program to instruct,” Milnor said.

The department’s strategy is unique in that it provides students practical knowledge beyond simply the theoretical approach to criminal justice.

On April 3, 40 criminal justice students will have the opportunity to conduct a mock crime scene investigation on Liberty Mountain with the aid of forensic teams from six different agencies. The event is a prelude to an advanced investigations class that will begin this summer. The criminal justice department will then partner with other departments within the university to replicate a complete investigation process from initial forensics tests to the final trial; information from the initial investigation will make its way into a forensics class in the biology department, and eventually to an evidence file that pre-law students can use in a mock court case.