DETROIT – A new program allows students at Detroit Public Safety Academy earn their high school diploma and associate’s degree in criminal justice at the same time with the help of the Detroit Police Department and Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD).
Senior Briana Horton, recognizes the power the program holds not just for her but for others too.
“I feel like it gives them an opportunity at life because you know, we are all from the hood, and I feel like it give us time to actually be something in life,” Horton said.
The program has three paths where you can end up with anything from a diploma and associate’s degree or a certificate in criminal justice.
- Pathway 1: High school freshman begin as dual enrolled students at WCCCD. If the student completes all four years, they will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.
- Pathway 2: High school sophomores or juniors are allowed to begin the dual enrollment program at WCCCD to earn a certificate in Criminal Justice: Public and Private Security.
- Pathway 3: This pathway allows enrolled students to participate in DPD’s Police Academy service hours without being fully enrolled in the policing curriculum
Principal and school leader Michael Jackson is excited for what the program means for students.
“It gives them opportunity to save a lot of money and gives them the opportunity to launch a rewarding career,” Jackson said.
The program launched this school year and since Horton is starting as a senior, she won’t be able to get her associate’s degree, but she did score a seven-week long internship with the department and mentors in the field.
For someone who wants to be a nurse or police officer, she said the experience is a deciding factor.
Jackson anticipates this will broaden students’ dreams.
“There are so many different departments within the police department that we don’t talk about but being here and with Wayne County it can branch them off into any of those other fields,” he said.
DPD Chief and a proud WCCCD graduate, James White said he likes to think future police chiefs and leaders of the department are walking through the halls of Detroit Public Safety Academy.
“I’m hoping that these young people take advantage of it and they can see their future in us. I mean, this is a great job. A very important job right now in this country and we need good young people,” White said.
While lessons will be done in the class room, WCCCD is renovating a building on campus where state of the art resources will be available to students in the program.