As part of its ongoing 50th Anniversary celebration, Waubonsee Community College recently held a First Responders Appreciation Day at its Plano Campus. The event was designed to recognize local police and fire organizations, expressing the college’s gratitude for the help they provide in educating future “first responders.”
Among the speakers were several of Waubonsee’s faculty members, representing the college’s criminal justice, emergency medical technician and fire science programs.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Joe Heinrich cited the cooperation of local police departments in helping students learn how to do their jobs
“I would like to give a special acknowledgment to all the police departments who support our program by sponsoring ride-alongs and allowing your officers to be interviewed by our students,” Heinrich said. “In the past 10 years, you have collectively opened your doors for Waubonsee students to interview patrol officers, detectives and crime scene investigators more than 500 times, and have sponsored approximately 1,000 ride-along opportunities for our criminal justice students.”
Such opportunities pay off, not only for Waubonsee students but also for local law enforcement agencies, who are then able to hire more qualified applicants who know the community and the job.
“Waubonsee graduates include high-ranking police officers, such as Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman, former Aurora Police Chief and current Darien Police Chief Greg Thomas, Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird, Judge Tim McCann and a long list of officers in all ranks through the Fox Valley region, the State of Illinois and beyond,” Heinnrich said.
Law enforcement and medical partners combine to support the college’s emergency medical technician-basic and paramedic programs. To earn their degrees, students in the paramedic program engage in more than 1,300 hours of classroom, hospital clinical and field ride time on ambulance duty.
Further hands-on training is offered in Waubonsee’s fire science program, thanks to new equipment and facilities.
“We now have two fire engines, and through donations, purchasing and grants, were able to obtain all of the needed fire equipment for classes, as well as firefighting gear for our students,” said Fire Science Technology/Emergency Medical Technician Instructor Andrea Montgomery. “This has proven to be a great benefit to the students to give them a complete picture of what it takes to be a firefighter by creating realistic learning environments.”
- Feature Photo Caption: The criminal justice program at Waubonsee Community College has a long and illustrious history, producing several top law enforcement officials. One such alumnus is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Pat Rolison, shown here addressing the crowd at the college’s First Responders Appreciation Day. (CREDIT: Waubonsee Community College)