Continuing Education Keeps Houston Campus Police Officer Abreast On The Constantly Changing Laws
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Not all police officers patrol the city – some have very specialized locations to keep safe. Officer Janet Stark of the Lone Star College System talks about how her education at Sam Houston State has helped her to become an effective law enforcement professional with a focus on campus safety.
What does your current job entail?
“As a police officer with Lone Star College Systems Police Department, I patrol the campus to provide a safe, secure learning environment for students and faculty. I patrol the parking garages enforcing traffic laws. I respond to calls for service requiring law enforcement as well as first responder medical assistance. I prepare offense reports for presentation to the County Prosecutor for criminal charges and appear in judicial proceedings as needed. I conduct Crime Prevention Presentations for students and faculty to promote safety awareness and reduce opportunities for victimization. As a senior officer, I train new police officers assigned to the University Park campus, ensuring a complete understanding of police procedures and compliance with Police Department policies as well as LSCS policy and procedure. As a campus police officer I must also keep abreast of the rules and requirements of the student body and work with campus administration to ensure compliance of the student Code of Conduct.”
Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?
“Yes, very much so. My education in Criminal Justice prepared me for local, state and federal law enforcement practices, as well as the judicial process and corrections and security services. Having a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice prepared me for the criminal justice system’s role within society, including juvenile justice, criminal and constitutional law, investigative principles, ethics and community relations.”
Have you participated in any form of continuing education?
“I have completed close to 1,500 continuing education hours. As societal needs change, so does the need for law enforcement training. Police officers must be up to date on all changes in the law, as well as the constantly changing trends in policing.”
Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a similar career?
“I would tell anyone considering a career in law enforcement to look within themselves and make sure it’s something they feel passionate about, and if it is, go for it. There are highs and lows in law enforcement but no matter what your day consisted of, you can go home knowing you made a positive impact on someone’s life every day. That is what makes law enforcement a great career.”
Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.