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New Vision Criminal Justice students honor local law enforcement


New Vision Criminal Justice students honor local law enforcement

Thurs., March 14, 2024

OCM BOCES’ New Vision Criminal Justice program students today thanked local law enforcement officials for their service with a law enforcement appreciation coffee hour at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center in Syracuse. 

The cohort of 18 students mingled and enjoyed refreshments with members of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, Onondaga County Probation Department, Onondaga County District Attorney, Syracuse Police Department, Onondaga County Family Court, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Unified Court System, Syracuse University Department of Public Safety, and the Village of Baldwinsville Police Department, among others. 

Baldwinsville Central School District senior Meri Wallace found career inspiration from Onondaga County Family Court Judge Julie A. Cecile. The judge came to the coffee hour and visited the class last week before the event to talk about her career. She also invited the students to visit her chambers. 

“It’s super eye-opening to actually see how everything works,” Wallace said. “I’m 1000% glad I took the class and don’t think I’d rather be doing anything else.”

Judge CecieI was encouraged by students’ enthusiasm—not just for the court system—but for the entire law enforcement field. 

“I think it’s a great opportunity for these kids to get to see all the different types of law enforcement opportunities,” she said. “They came to family court and asked a ton of great questions, they were interested, and hopefully they’ve learned something new.” 

Olivia Jackson, a Chittenango High School senior, said the opportunities provided to her class exceeded her expectations for learning about law enforcement in the real world. 

“Going to court and being able to see a lot of real-life instances and stuff you wouldn’t see in a classroom made learning very real,” she said.

Even before she took the class, Cazenovia senior Raven Roberts wanted to be an environmental conservation officer with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Next year, she's heading to SUNY Canton to major in the school's Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Leadership program, which blends the disciplines of criminal justice, law enforcement and management.

OCM BOCES' New Vision class, led by instructor Kelly Cunningham with support from Denise Mecca, "definitely solidified the fact that I want to go into law enforcement," she said. 

"It's honestly just a really great class for figuring out what you want to do," she said. 

Onondaga County Probation Officer Chris Brower previously focused on supervising drug dealers and those associated with gangs in his 24-year career, until 2020. That’s when he realized it was time to shift his focus to encouraging younger generations of students to learn more about law enforcement. 

“It’s a unique profession and it puts you in a different mindset at work and even at home,” he said. “I love speaking to the new generation to share my experiences—the good ones, the bad times and the ‘What just happened’ ones.”