Criminal justice students talk safety

GVL / Courtesy - GVSU CJSA


GVL / Courtesy – GVSU CJSA

Meghan McBrady

The Criminal Justice Student’s Association at Grand Valley State University will be hosting a “Those Who Protect Us” event on Feb. 27 on the Pew Campus in Seidman Center Room 1008.

Partnering with Pals Student Mentors and the Alpha Phi Sigma criminal justice honor society, the event is targeted toward at-risk youth in the Grand Rapids area.

Kathleen Bailey, the director of the school of criminal justice, said that the program will provide resources and contact information for those children – ranging from 6 to 14 – that are exposed to crimes, violence or drugs within their neighborhoods.

“If these kids’ only experiences are when a law enforcement professional is arresting their father, mother or the kid next door, they learn to distrust and fear them,” Bailey said. “The hope of the Alpha Phi Sigma group is to provide an opportunity to correct misperceptions, answer questions and educate children about what the criminal justice professionals in their community.”

During the event, children will be doing activities in and outside the Seidman Center. Ranging from arts and crafts to meeting with policemen, firefighters and paramedics, the children will be able to ask questions and learn a variety of safety precautions to use in their daily lives.

Chad Jackson, president of the Criminal Justice Students’ Association at GVSU, said teaching at-risk youth the importance of safety and what these public safety officials do in the community, helps them develop an appreciation for those individuals who serve and protect their city.

Ultimately, he said, the event will capitalize on what the criminal justice program at GVSU does for both its Allendale and Grand Rapids communities.

“This event is huge just because we are demonstrating to them that these figures are important,” he said. “It’s very crucial because as kids, we went through D.A.R.E., and these kids may not have the opportunity to actually go through those programs and learn what to actually do in those situations.”

Overall, encouraging the GVSU students and public safety officials to work and teach children the importance of working together will develop a safe and peaceful environment to live in.

“This event really allows these young kids a profound and abiding, as well as fun, opportunity to develop relationships with those law enforcement professionals that dissipates some of the unknown and threatening aspect of the people who are there to protect them,” Bailey said.

For more information about the criminal justice program and related events, visit