Criminal justice classes get up-close look at potential careers


Jayme Wilkey

Students in teacher Scarlett May’s Criminal Justice class meet professionals after a police helicopter arrived on campus for a special event for the class.

Gabby Norman, Staff Writer

Criminal Justice classes had a surprise they won’t soon forget – a helicopter.  The classes had an in-school field trip Nov. 29. A helicopter and SWAT vehicle were on campus to help students get close and personal views of what they had been learning in class.

“We’re always talking about it,” said Scarlett May, the criminal justice teacher, “so I was excited for them to see it in real life.”

The visit took about three weeks to plan. Sophomore Emily LaBoy was grateful for the opportunity to have a hands-on experience instead of just learning from a book.

“We’ve been learning about laws and court systems,” LaBoy said. “This is our chance to learn about jobs you can get in the government.”

Many government officials were in attendance during the in-school field trip, and students went out of their way to thank them for their service.

Deputy Sheriff Todd Covington was given a cranberry Sprite by a student and then was profusely thanked for his service. Covington is a tactical flight officer, meaning he operates the cameras in a helicopter. He explained that the helicopter was a gift from the Army. It’s 1969 model that can go up to 120 miles per hour.

While every day is different for Covington, he tries to keep a routine by getting to the hangar at 6:30 a.m. and making coffee. He has been a tactical flight officer for five years. Before that, he spent 10 years as a motorcycle cop. It was especially hard on him to deal with fatalities.

“What’s heartbreaking is going to a crash and seeing that it was a youngster,” Covington said. “They’re on their phone texting one minute, and the next they’re wrapped around a tree.”

Covington’s advice for aspiring police officers and government officials is to always be aware.

“The problem with society right now is they’re too worried with getting their phones out, not getting to safety,” Covington said. “Anything could happen in a minute, you’ll be taken by surprise.”