Homeland Security Hosts Criminal-Justice Students

October 29, 2010 / by / 0 Comment

By Doug Carroll
Communications Staff

Twenty students from Cornel Stemley’s criminal-justice classes at GCU visited the Phoenix offices of the Department of Homeland Security on Friday to learn about career possibilities and tour the Central Avenue facilities.

Officers with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spoke with the students. There are about 100 students in the criminal-justice program in the College of Liberal Arts.

Fugitive operations officer Marty Byrum told the group that each of 10 deportation officers has a caseload of 2,000 and that the time between arraignment and the start of a trial can be two years or more.

“Immigration law is second only to tax law in its complexity,” Byrum said.

The students also got to see the facility’s detention area, which can house as many as 200 detainees at one time. The Phoenix office has a large territory to cover, stretching from Riggs Road in southern Maricopa County all the way to the Utah border.

Freshman Sidney Temple is planning on a career with either the Drug Enforcement Administration or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The father of a friend works for ICE in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“I liked seeing the correctional side — the process and technology involved,” Temple said of the tour.

Freshman Kristina Barnett said her introductory criminal-justice class recently finished talking about various governmental departments and agencies, making the tour especially relevant. She hopes to have a career in forensics and pathology.

“I’ve always liked this line of work,” she said, adding that she took a criminal-justice class in high school in Vancouver, Wash.

Sophomore Eric Timberlake has his sights set on a military career and detective work thereafter. His stepfather is the chief of police in the southeastern Minnesota city of Preston.

Like most in the group, he was fascinated by the detention area, which was adjoined by a large garage — big enough to accommodate a motor coach, with room to spare.

“I was surprised when they said they haven’t had to deal with much violence in there,” Timberlake said of the detention area. “They handle so much of the state.”

Stemley, a first-year instructor who spent six years as a DEA officer, said other field trips are scheduled for the students this year, including visits to local offices of the DEA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].

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