Colorado might not be the first place that pops into your mind when you are planning a trip. But for Dr. Lisa Leduc’s criminal justice class, that was the destination. Leduc took a group of her students to Denver to visit the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences there. The students got to attend the 53rd Annual Meeting, and had some very valuable experiences during their stay. On April 20, they shared their experiences with the community during their University Day presentation.
In 2012, recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado. This was a topic that took up the first part of the presentation. There is a lack of research on marijuana, so even though the use of it is legal, it continues to give police more difficulty in doing their jobs.
One thing that the presenters mentioned was that efforts are made to keep recreational marijuana away from minors, as the use of it is detrimental to the developing brain. On the other hand, medical marijuana can be given to virtually anyone, including a sick baby. The difference between recreational and medical marijuana is the amount of THC, which is the chemical that is harmful in recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana contains little or no THC, making it ineffective for getting high.
All of the students got to go on a ride-along with police officers. They shared these experiences with the audience, and some of them seemed quite exciting. For one student, Idella Thompson, the ride-along involved a little crime. “We ended up getting into a high-speed chase looking for a stolen vehicle,” she said. For Ryan Dubois, it involved an emergency phone call from a man about his wife who had gone into cardiac arrest. He said it was the first call that they got during his ride-along. Unfortunately, the EMTs were unable to make it to the woman in time. “She was pronounced dead on the scene,” Dubois said. It was an emotional experience for him. For all of the students, the rides-along gave them a real-life look into the everyday jobs of police officers.
It was clear that the students enjoyed their trip and brought their experiences home with them. Leduc gave her students a valuable gift by taking them on this trip, no matter what part of the criminal justice field they decide to go into. For everyone else, the stories that these young people had to tell were both informative as well as inspiring