High school students and adults have a new opportunity for career training with the addition of a Criminal Justice program at Meridian Technology Center this fall.
The Criminal Justice program introduces students to law enforcement and emergency service careers. Students will learn skills relevant to police work, forensics and security. Course content covers criminal law, police functions, defensive tactics, jail detention and firearm safety. Additional training will focus on processing crime scenes, collecting evidence and using related equipment. Fitness training is also a central part of the program.
Upon completing this training, students 17 years or older will be qualified to take the Oklahoma State Unarmed Security Guard License exam (CLEET Phases I & II). Careers that align with this training include law enforcement officers, security guards, private investigators, correctional officers, dispatchers, jailers, deputy sheriffs and more.
Students who complete advanced training in the program’s second year will focus on advanced patrol tactics, criminal investigations, and advanced detention concepts. Students will also learn about public safety, community policing and community relations. Workforce connections such as a police ride-a-long, job shadowing and internships will be a part of the advanced training option.
Preparing for Success with Industry Partnerships
Les Little will lead the Criminal Justice program. Little is currently an Information Technology instructor at Meridian. In this role, he teaches the Cyber Crime Specialist and Cyber Security Professional career pathways. Before teaching at Meridian, Little spent 23 years with the Stillwater Police Department. He retired as a detective in 2012 and has taught Information Technology since that time.
“Criminal Justice is a demanding and rewarding field. We want to expose our students to as many areas of Criminal Justice as we can,” Little explained. “If the students enjoy this type of work, it can open doors to several career paths. The goal is to have students finish the program with certifications and contacts with different departments and colleges that are actively recruiting now.”
Input for course curriculum and program equipment came from local law enforcement agencies that had representatives serving on the Business and Education Council for the program. Departments that helped with the program’s formation include the Stillwater Police Department, Guthrie Police Department, Perry Police Department, Oklahoma State University Police Department and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The Payne, Logan, Noble and Pawnee County Sherriff Departments also provided input.
Little also sought input from Oklahoma State University faculty members Jay Dawes and Justin Talley. Dawes is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology, Applied Health and Recreation at OSU. He has extensive research in the area of occupational challenges law enforcement officers face. He also works with first responders across the state to help them safely navigate the physical demands of their careers. Talley is a Professor of Entomology and Plant Pathology. He frequently teaches an Introduction to Forensic Entomology course that focuses on the use of forensic entomology in criminal and civil investigations.
To learn more about the new program visit meridiantech.edu/programs/criminal-justice.
Plan Now for Career Training at Tech
Meridian serves high school and adult students who live in the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts.
High school, home-school and virtual school students who live in the district can attend tuition free during their junior and senior years. Sophomores can enroll in afternoon programs when space is available. The STEM Academy with Biomedical Sciences and Pre-Engineering programs is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Students spend a half day at their home high school and half a day with Meridian in hands-on courses. Meridian offers free transportation from their home high school. Students can receive credit for high school courses in a variety of academics or as electives depending on their high school.
The adult enrollment process begins on April 1. Adult students can enroll in any of Meridian’s career training programs, with the exception of the STEM Academy. Evening Cosmetology, Health Informatics, Practical Nursing and Radiological Technology are adult-only programs with separate applications and deadlines. Tuition varies for each program. Visit meridiantech.edu/programs to explore training options. Online enrollment for adult students can be found at meridiantech.edu/adults.