Students get schooled by police

JOHNSTOWN – The city Police Department received four youthful helping hands the last two weeks, assisted at the station by two HFM BOCES criminal justice students.

Police Chief Mark Gifford noted recently the senior students – Cody Arminio of Johnstown High School and Tyler Murphy of Mayfield Central High School – are part of the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services criminal justice program.

“Over the years, we’ve done this with Fulton-Montgomery Community College and BOCES,” Gifford said. “Generally, they’re hand-picked by the station.”

He said the students work at the police station and help the officers with various tasks, gaining valuable insight into police work.

“They’ll come in and shadow officers,” Gifford said.

The students this year are being taught by BOCES instructor John Pecora. They are enrolled in a BOCES criminal justice course. Students in these types of programs can sometimes observe hands-on practical skill instruction, including filling out reports, handcuffing, radio usage, fingerprinting, crime scene investigation, vehicle stops, patrols and forensics.

The internship involves a two hour-per-day, two-week program at police stations.

“The purpose is for the students to learn everything they can about law enforcement,” Pecora stated.

Pecora said he’s been involved in the program – for which the BOCES students can receive college credit – for about 10 years. The BOCES instructor also said students this spring did internships at the Gloversville Police Department, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and the Johnstown City Court system.

In the two-year criminal justice program, students prepare for entry into college programs as well as career opportunities in law enforcement, public/private security and the corrections field, according to the HFM BOCES website. In addition, the program teaches students about the history, theory and practices of the criminal justice and corrections fields.

Career paths can include: law enforcement, corrections officer, park ranger, fingerprint technician, lab technician, forensic scientist, paralegal, victim advocate and probation or parole officer.

In the first year of the BOCES criminal justice program, students gain a general understanding of the theory and practice of criminal and civil law. Second-year students are introduced to the field and profession of corrections.

The curriculum includes: guest lectures, field trips, and hands on projects such as finger printing, forensics, crime scene investigation, mock trial, photography, plaster casts and using radar equipment.