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Criminal Justice

At Cypress Creek High School, in rooms 3-102 and 3-128, students learn about the criminal justice system. Educators, Dr. Elders and Mr. Hamilton of the Criminal Justice Academy, have held careers in policing. Criminal Justice can be helpful for many high schoolers, even to those who decide not to pursue a career in law enforcement. 

The academy begins with Criminal Justice One (CJ1), the cadet year. As you progress to your second year, you move forward with Criminal Justice Two (CJ2), the patrol year. This follows through with Criminal Justice Three (CJ3), the investigator and forensics year. Finally, Criminal Justice Four (CJ4), 911 dispatch for police, fire, and emergency medical. Importantly, students in the progression of Criminal Justice Four have the ability to achieve their Florida dispatcher certification and become eligible for a position in an agency immediately after high school. Furthermore, course options at CCHS include Introduction to Criminal Justice and Introduction to Criminology through Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC). Students can graduate from CCHS with six college credit hours in criminal justice.

Students who are enrolled in the Criminal Justice Academy at CCHS learn about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, defensive tactics, handcuffing, traffic stops, lifting latent fingerprints, investigative techniques, report writing and so much more. This class is a good building block for those who want to learn more about the various career choices available in the criminal justice field. Some prime examples of jobs you can find in the field would be law enforcement, attorneys, activists, forensic sciences, corrections and juvenile justice. The core focus of Criminal Justice One is the history of policing, dating back to the first police system that was created. The academy explores the laws and procedures of our nation’s state and localities throughout the criminal justice system. 

As students progress, they transition to Dr. Elders from Mr. Hamilton’s CJ1 class. “CJ2 is really the practical side of it, the boot is on the ground, that’s really what CJ2 is all about and how that operates. It is the most important part of every agency anywhere; it is literally the foundation for every agency,” Dr. Elders explained. In Criminal Justice Two, the material is more hands on, as to where Criminal Justice One is more book work and history of policing. However, students will begin learning how laws are applied in a practical sense.   

Mr. Hamilton brings a wealth of experience to the students on his Criminal Justice One course. Before teaching at Cypress Creek High School, he taught internationally and worked as an officer in New York City and Virginia Beach. CJ1 is primarily first-year students as it is the first class in the academy, but any grade level can take it. “Foundational courses like CJ1 are essential to build expertise and working knowledge as well as provide exposure to the various options for employment within the criminal justice field,” described Mr. Hamilton. 

A Criminal Justice student putting up caution tape for a Crime scene. (Sophia Wagner)

 

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