Criminal justice club prepares future leaders

Major motion pictures and television shows like “Criminal Minds” have created a criminal justice craze, but there is much more to this program of study than what is depicted by Hollywood. Liberty students majoring in criminal justice have the opportunity to join the Criminal Justice Club. 

Dylan Seekamp, a senior and criminal justice major, has been a member of the Criminal Justice Club since he was a freshman — almost three and a half years ago. Originally, he intended to start a police cadet program with the Lynchburg police department, which led him to getting in contact with the president of the criminal justice club at the time, and now, more than three years later, Seekamp is the president of the club.

As the president, Seekamp collaborates with other members to plan events and reach out to agencies. The club        prioritizes networking opportunities and hands-on training for its members.

The Criminal Justice Club doesn’t hold the typical round-table meetings. Their club meetings look like practical hands-on training exercises, simulated traffic stops and exciting guest speakers. They try to draw in speakers from local, state and federal agencies. 

The club frequently works with the local police department in Lynchburg to provide students with these exciting and important opportunities. 

Typically, the club holds an event twice a month, and these events are not just for criminal justice majors but are open to any interested student.

“We do mainly like practical hands-on training exercises so that students can get hands-on because they’re in a classroom getting a lot of lectures, and so being able to apply that outside of the classroom is what we strive to do,” Seekamp said. “We’ve done things like defensive tactics (and) traffic stops. We even went down to the criminal justice academy here in Lynchburg, and we used their simulator for shoot-don’t-shoot scenarios.” 

Seekamp encourages students of all backgrounds to join the club. Students do not have to be a criminal justice major to join. The club’s goal is to prepare criminal justice students for the field and to inform students in general. 

“We want people who are interested in learning more about law enforcement,” Seekamp said. “That’s whether or not they’re criminal justice majors. But (we also want) people who are passionate about entering into the criminal justice system and the field of law enforcement so we can … prepare the next generation of young professionals who are going to go out into the field.”

One of Seekamp’s favorite memories was when they practiced defensive tactics with their faculty advisor. He also enjoyed the shoot-don’t-shoot simulator.

“Our faculty advisor brings a red man suit, and we actually get to go hands-on and actually fight and do … survival stuff with using actual force,” Seekamp said. “It definitely gets the adrenaline going.”

Click here for more information on the Criminal Justice Club

Bear is the feature editor for the Liberty Champion

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