‘Justice’ for all
By KIM BUNCH HOGGARD
WINDSOR – Generous donations from a trio of local corporate sponsors will serve as the foundation for the newly created Public Safety Cadet Program at Bertie High School.
In an event held Dec. 2 at the school campus, Republic Services, JBA Properties, and Perdue Farms donated funds to the program.
Personnel from Governor Pat McCrory’s office were on hand for the event, including Gwen Norville, Deputy Director of Prisons Administration, and Linda Murphy, Eastern Regional Director of the NC Council for Women.
Bertie County Schools in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and local community leaders launched the first high school program in North Carolina designed to give students a jump start on a career in Criminal Justice.
This program is entitled the Bertie Public Safety Cadet Program.
According to Bertie County Commissioner John Trent, this is a great honor for Bertie to be the first county to implement this program.
“It was not so much a choice, but a necessity that we prepare young people for the workforce in Bertie County,” Trent said.
Bertie Schools Superintendent Elaine White, and Prisons Coastal Region Director Melissa Warner organized and provided structural support to get the program off the ground.
The pilot program is designed to prepare Bertie County High School juniors and seniors for local jobs in the criminal justice system.
According to John Herring, superintendent of the Bertie Correctional Facility, there are numerous job opportunities at his facility. Local law enforcement officers present at the event iterated that there are job openings at the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office as well as at local police departments. Therefore, this program is a win-win situation for the students and the county.
The program will officially start on Jan. 11, 2016. Sixteen high school juniors have been chosen to be the first cadets in the program.
College professors will teach a criminal justice curriculum that has been designed for them by Bertie County Schools, Martin Community College, Roanoke-Chowan Community College and the NC Department of Public Safety.
The curriculum is set up to instill integrity and leadership qualities in the students. Upon high school graduation from the program, cadets will have college credits toward their education from RCCC or MCC and receive a certificate.
They will be set up to pursue an associate’s degree in criminal justice that will leave them exceptionally prepared for employment with the NC Department of Public Safety.
The program would not be possible without the strong support and monetary contributions of local community and county leaders.
Gwen Norville, Deputy Director of Prisons Administration, presided over the check presentation ceremony and announced that Republic Services donated $10,000, JBA Properties donated $5,000, and Perdue Farms donated $2,000.
Funds from the corporate sponsors will help pay for books, uniforms and other cadet program operating expenses.
Norville closed the program by thanking the contributors.
“We hope, upon graduation from one of our community colleges or universities in North Carolina, they will have majored in criminal justice, and then we can hire them in the workforce,” Norville said.