LIMA — A cop has to be a lot of things, at a lot of different times.
To help students from Lima Senior High School understand just what exactly that means, the school district, Lima Police Department and Rhodes College, have teamed up to reveal the realities of criminal justice careers.
The initiative, called The Red and Blue Program, serves as a continuation of already existing efforts to foster stronger relationships between police, students and their families.
The endeavor started with the school’s decision to hire Resource Officer Nate Garlock. The school and Lima Police Department then partnered to apply for a federal grant that would allow Garlock’s continued presence in the district.
To further include students, The Red and Blue Program had a panel on Tuesday as an introduction to various public service officials and their duties. Speakers included the city’s police chief, detectives, patrolmen, dispatchers and correction officers. Later on, other opportunities will include job shadowing and scholarships to study criminal justice at Rhodes.
“We want to capture kids’ interested in law enforcement and related jobs,” Garlock said. “We want to show them all the different aspects and opportunities in the criminal justice field that they may not know even exist.”
Superintendent Jill Ackerman told students the program is an important opportunity as it’s a chance to enhance relationships and help them discover jobs in the field right in their hometown.
“I don’t want you to go anywhere else,” she said. “We want you to stay here and take the opportunity to make Lima a great community.”
Though junior Shawn Booth was certain of his interest in criminal justice, he wasn’t so sure he wanted to stay in Lima. However, he’d find some way to serve for the place where he grew up, he said.
Fellow junior, Schuyler Holland, was less sure about pursuing a career in criminal justice, but the possibility of detective work caught her eye despite plans to join the Air Force after graduation.
“It’s great the school is offering something like this,” she said. “We have other professional outreach programs but we never had anything like this until now.”