Before they can earn their own shiny badge, the law-enforcement students at CCTE must first learn and share with others the do’s and don’ts public safety.
Members of Teens in the Driver Seat – a student organization aimed at informing youth about the potential dangers of distracted driving – organized the second annual Safety Fair at the school. They enlisted the help of criminal justice pros to get the message across.
The focus of the fair this year is on a topic that impacts many teens: texting and driving.
Asher Torres, a member of Teens in the Driver Seat, said it’s important for teens to hear about these issues from one another, and not just from adults.
“If a teacher or a parent tries preaching to us about the mistakes we’ve seen them do, the information goes in through one ear and out through the other,” he said.
Law enforcement officials said it is important to hear about the dangers of phone use and driving from all sources, including parents and criminal justice professionals.
Officers from Crisis Management Teams were on hand to show students how they typically negotiate situations in which the safety of a single person or a group of people is being threatened.
Students also had the opportunity to visit booths with agents from the El Paso Police Department’s SWAT Team, Crime Stoppers and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.
The interactive booths allowed future officers to try on equipment and even board the SWAT’s Bearcat vehicle, which served as ice breakers when talking to officers.
“Students can be hesitant to talk to someone with a badge,” said Sylvia Garcia, the law enforcement teacher at CCTE. “When they hear their experiences, it convinces them that these jobs need to be done.”
Garcia educates her students on ways they can make a change in the world through a career in law enforcement depending on their calling.
“If I can make a difference in one student, it makes my job absolutely worth it,” Garcia said.