Nov. 15—Last week, students and professionals were able to meet, network and learn about professions in criminal justice and law enforcement at Cumberland University.
The Lebanon Police Department, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Metro Nashville Police, Mt. Juliet Police and others invited criminal justice students to have breakfast and to ask questions during the Coffee With Cumberland event.
P.J. Hardy of the Lebanon Police Department said that the students have different interests within law enforcement, whether that be local, state or federal.
“We really enjoy doing it because we get to talk to a bunch of great students who ask a bunch of really good questions,” Hardy said.
The events typically take place once a quarter, and Hardy said that the agencies also see it as a kind of recruiting event.
“It’s definitely great for us in law enforcement, because it gives us an opportunity to speak with the students and know that they’re hopefully really good officer candidates,” Hardy said. “It gives them real world, direct contact with these different agencies, depending on what their interests are.”
Students are given an unique opportunity to ask questions that they haven’t asked in class and to get answers directly from the agencies.
“It’s really good conversations, and it’s in a laid-back, having-breakfast sort of atmosphere, so it makes it easy to have those conversations,” Hardy said.
Hardy said that the best advice he can give to criminal justice students is for them to do their homework both in terms of class and their potential employers and to do the best that they can with their criminal justice degrees.
“Where your knowledge is, and how much you absorb and are able to retain, and where you end up on placement in your particular school for criminal justice might make a difference for you down the road,” Hardy said.
Hardy said that the program is spearheaded by Suzann Lafferty and other faculty members.
The program is in conjunction with the Cumberland criminal justice department and Cumberland’s security office. Lafferty said that the event’s purpose is for students to learn about criminal-justice careers in an informal setting and to grow relationships with local law enforcement agencies.
“Everyone was really engaged, and I think that it’s a great opportunity to talk about current events, to talk about current trends in law enforcement,” Lafferty said. “The partners that come are just really open and really honest with the students, and the students have a lot of respect for them because they are so open and honest.”